Despite all the challenges that our community is facing as we prepare for the start of school, there’s no denying the excitement of seeing our students next week. In today’s newsletter, you’ll find information about:

  • Our Back to School Checklist 
  • More details on middle, high schools Launch to Learning 2020–21
  • Student Selection Form (Deadline is THIS Thursday, Aug. 6)
  • Open House Dates 
  • Information on supporting our teachers by becoming a substitute  
  • Launch to Learning Guides and updated FAQs
  • District Committee Applications 

Back-to-School Checklist

It’s time to get ready to go back to school! With the first three weeks of the school year completely online, we know things are different this year. In an effort to assist our families with planning for the start of this school year, we created the 2020–21 Leander ISD Back-to-School Checklist.

Launch to Learning: Summer School Teacher Panel

While the emergency remote learning from the spring was many families’ most recent experience with virtual instruction, the LISD summer school team led the program virtually with much success.

Join us for a panel discussion with these heroic educators at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 5. We’ll talk about what summer school virtual learning looked like and what it means for the launch of Virtual Empowered Learning next week. You can register for the webinar here

Help us plan for September – select in-person or virtual learning by this Thursday!

The first three weeks of the 2020–21 school year (Aug. 13–Sept. 7) will be entirely online. All students will participate in Virtual Empowered Learning. We plan to start in-person learning on Sept. 8. Families can choose between in-person and virtual learning. To efficiently prepare our campuses, we need to know your choice. Please make your student selection by Aug. 6. 

We are asking students to stick with their selection through the first grading period, six weeks at middle and high school and nine weeks at elementary school.

We are also asking families without access to technology to please call your student’s campus, where a receptionist can help you complete the form over the phone. 

Middle, high schools provide more details for Launch to Learning 2020–21

With our Student Selection Form for choosing in-person or virtual learning, we are asking families to make tough decisions. As we continue to provide transparency, accessibility, and frequent communication about our Launch to Learning in 2020–21, we want to clarify what learning will look like for middle and high school students. 

When we welcome students back for in-person learning at middle and high school, we are committed to:

  • keeping in-person class sizes as small as possible;
  • maintaining equity for all students’ learning; and  
  • minimizing change by being flexible for student choice and the changing conditions of the global pandemic.

Students will open the school year Aug. 13 through Sept. 7 in Virtual Empowered Learning (VEL) with all students learning from home. On Sept. 8, when we hopefully return to in-person learning for families who choose that for their student(s), our teachers will be leading classrooms with both in-person and virtual students following the same schedule. 

Please make sure you complete our Student Selection form by Aug. 6.

Based on the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our public health agencies, we know lowering classroom sizes decreases the risk for indoor activities. 

When we re-open in-person learning, teachers will continue to provide live, face-to-face instruction to both the students attending class in-person and the students attending virtually. Teachers will use high-quality virtual tools and strategies. 

Both in-person and virtual students will engage with synchronous or live learning via their laptop and Google Classroom. Both groups of students will receive the same, rigorous, TEKS-aligned instruction. 

For in-person students learning in schools, they will:

  • switch classes by physically moving to different classrooms, using best practices for safety and health; 
  • interact with teachers and students in-person and virtually through whole-group and small-group settings; 
  • receive numerical grades and calculations for Grade Point Average (GPA) and class rank for high school; and 
  • receive in-person individualized support. 

For students learning at home, they will: 

  • maintain a bell schedule that mirrors in-person learning;
  • be able to engage with their teacher and classmates virtually through whole-group and small-group settings;
  • receive numerical grades and calculations for Grade Point Average (GPA) and class rank for high school; and 
  • receive virtual individualized support.

For teachers serving both students in-person and learning at home, they will:

  • develop and maintain relationships with students in-person and learning at home;
  • deliver whole-group and small-group instruction to meet the needs of in-person and virtual students; 
  • provide numerical grades for all students; and
  • provide instructional materials virtually through Google Classroom and a video streaming tool, either Zoom or Google Meet.

We are continuing to work with our public health agencies to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The ongoing health crisis may result in the short-term and long-term closures of in-person learning.  We believe this blended approach will allow our schools to minimize change and give families more flexibility for their student(s).

Some elective courses will require in-person class time. Leander ISD has a virtual and in-person course list for families to review when making their decision. Please note that if you choose virtual learning after Sept. 7 and your child has an exclusively in-person course, they will need to have their transportation to school for this in-person course.

Sample Bell Schedule

Virtual Open House Dates

As we approach the new school year, one thing is certain: we cannot wait to see our kids! Please join us for our virtual open house events, where our students will get to meet and interact with their new teachers. 

  • Elementary New Family Orientation – 6:30 p.m., TODAY: Tuesday, August 4 
  • PreK Open House – 5 p.m., Monday, August 10
  • Elementary Meet the Teacher – 5 and 5:45 p.m., Tuesday, August 11 
  • 6th Grade – 6:45 p.m., Tuesday, August 11 
  • 7th and 8th Grade – 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 18 @ 6:30 p.m. *Please note change from original date of Aug. 20
  • High School – Monday, August 24 – start time determined by campus

Each campus will be sharing details about these events with our families through email and/or on their campus websites. We look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones!

Support teachers! Substitutes needed for the 2020–21 school year

Do you or someone you know want to support your favorite teachers or campus? Our teachers have never needed the support of our community more than the upcoming school year. It takes all of us to make a great year happen, and we are actively recruiting substitute teachers ahead of the start of school. 

As a substitute teacher for LISD you may:

  • select the campuses you want to serve, 
  • choose your preferred grade levels and teachers, and 
  • fulfill assignments as little or as much as you can under the circumstances.

Extensive safety measures are in place at each campus, and details about our safety measures and plan for learning during the 2020–21 school year can be found on our Launch to Learning 2020–21 webpage.

For more information about our substitute teaching program or to apply to become a substitute teacher, visit our website at www.leanderisd.org/substitutes.

Launch to Learning Guides and FAQs

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers to help you make the best decisions for your family in our Launch to Learning 202021. The following guides are now in our online knowledge base and available to print in English and Spanish.

We know that our community will still have questions; if you are unable to locate your answer, please feel free to submit your question using the Let’s Talk button on our Launch to Learning site.

Share your voice: LISD’s district committee applications open

District committee applications are open from August 3 through August 17. To learn more and apply for a place on the Districtwide Educational Improvement Council (DWEIC), Community Curriculum Advisory Committee (CCAC) and/or the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), please go here.