Leander ISD places great value in instructional days

Leander ISD places great value in instructional days
Posted on 01/31/2018
Superintendent's Column

Superintendent's Column 

Visiting classrooms to watch the learning process at work is what makes being Superintendent of Leander ISD the best job in the world. Our teachers lead remarkable lessons, our support teams work tirelessly to run schools smoothly and our students soak up the experiences and opportunities. 

Great things happen during the school day. When the state of Texas switched the requirement of instruction from 180 days to 75,600 minutes, districts could amend the calendar, add minutes and create flexibility. In Leander ISD, we made a conscious decision to continue valuing the instructional day as more significant than the minutes.

While adding five minutes to every day may create an extra instructional day on paper, it does not equate the same value a student receives by walking through the front door to go through an entire schedule with a full course load, lunch, social opportunities with peers and experiences with extracurricular and after-school activities.

Recently, we decided to cancel school on Jan. 16 due to reports of severe inclement weather. While the district could have opted to use minutes, we decided to use our designated inclement weather makeup day of April 23 because we do not want to miss an opportunity for kids to explore a day of learning.

We are an educational institution. Student learning is our primary function and we need to value the instructional day. While many of our families are fortunate to provide learning opportunities for kids, a single household cannot match the amount of opportunities LISD offers in our various activities.

Last week, I had the privilege to walk Rouse High School to view our Career and Technical Education programs, and I spoke with computer science students in Sylvia Wood’s classroom as they discussed data security. Down the hall, aerospace engineering students were debating the design of a fuselage on an airplane. Across campus, students were restoring classic cars in the automotive tech classroom. Each of the experiences is special and can only fully occur during a school day.

The norms of a community are ever-changing, and philosophies concerning our values may evolve. We will continue to be a great school system as our region develops if we keep student learning as our core mission, supporting one community, with one vision, as #1LISD.