The Education Service Center Region 20 servers that run the iTCCS student and business information system, including the gradebook system and TxConnect parent portal, are currently experiencing severe stability issues for multiple school districts, including LISD. Region 20 network operation staff are working to determine the cause of the outage, but currently we do not have a time estimate on restoration of services. We apologize for the difficulties this causes, especially as we approach the end of the first six week grading period. We will continue to reach out to Region 20 for progress updates.
Leander ISD officials announced that 21 students were distinguished as Semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program based on their outstanding performances on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). National Merit Semifinalists, who represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, include the highest scoring entrants in each state. These academically gifted high-school seniors will compete for scholarships worth about $35 million next spring.
LISD also reported that 65 high-scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is typically below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states.
Twenty Cedar Park High School were students honored.
Three students from Leander High School were honored.
- Six students qualified as National Merit Semifinalists: Haley Kehoe, Megan LaMonica, Olivia Larkin, Rachel Pokorney, Blake Rice and Joshua Wiggers.
- Fourteen students qualified as Commended Scholars: David Bonsall, Hannah Craig, Anne Dattilo, Brielle Ferdinand, Heidi Klein, Se Young Kwon, Sarah Orth, Elizabeth Stein, Alina Tang, Tatsuyuki Toyokawa, Nathan Vu, Christina Walker, Christopher Washington and Hannah Williamson.
Eight students from Rouse High School were honored.
- Three students qualified as Commended Scholars: Nicholas Champion, Violet Keathley and Alecia Jones.
Thirty-five students from Vandegrift High School were honored.
- Two students qualified as National Merit Semifinalists: Sarah Mathys and Sarah Spitler.
- Six students qualified as Commended Scholars: Berlind Kyler, Veronica Estrada, Dillon Kellar, Jordan O’Brien, Shea Peterson and Rachel Sanders.
Twenty-one students from Vista Ridge High School were honored.
- Nine students qualified as National Merit Semifinalists: Matthew Carpenter, Prahan Chetlur, Taara Clarke, Eric Floyd, Evelyn Frederic, Nicole Jaynes, Sahil Mehta, Naomi Rapier and Paige Welch.
- Twenty-six students qualified as Commended Scholars: Nakita Batra, Madison Benkovic, Nicolas Birk, Madison Claflin, Corinne Delius, Manasa Dutta, Christopher Gardner, Andrew Graff, Austin Gray, Vishal Gupta, Greta Handing, Aric Hasting, Forrest Keith, Catherine Kellogg, Sean Kupec, Ruchika Mitbander, Lauren Murphy, Caroline Naples, Seena Ounsinegad, Lauren Poole, Maria Priebe, Sondra Rahmeh, Bret Reinking, Will Spellman, Kevin Tan and Evan Yu.
- Four students qualified as National Merit Semifinalists: Jenay Lapeyrolerie, Jordan Murley, Ryan Otto and Zachary Richards.
- Seventeen students qualified as Commended Scholars: Alexandre Cate, Christopher Charnecki, Kristine Chen, Katherine Hardin, Ryan Jilek, Vincent Lee, Joshua Ray Mata, Sydney McAvoy, Kiara Myers, Hannah Newell, Brennan Ochoa, Morgan Petrinec, Hannah Rumbarger, Anudeeksha Satheeshkumar, Keely Torsak-Bryson, John Trevino and Lane Wolf.
“Leander ISD is proud of all of our students who have been recognized for their PSAT/NMSQT scores, earning one of the highest honors one can achieve while in high school,” said Bret Champion, LISD Superintendent. “We offer these students our warmest congratulations!”
The total number of LISD students receiving the National Merit Semifinalist and the Commended Scholars distinctions represents an 18 percent growth from the previous year.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.
To ensure that all students are on college- and career-ready paths, on Wednesday, October 15 LISD will administer the PSAT/NMSQT to all ninth-, 10th - and 11th-grade students. The PSAT/NMSQT assesses reading, math, and writing skills; provides practice for the SAT; and connects students to scholarships and personalized online tools. In addition, students in the 11th grade may be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship program and other award programs that look at PSAT/NMSQT scores.
The PSAT/NMSQT is a powerful college-readiness tool because it uses the same format and evaluates the same skills as the SAT. Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT get a custom SAT study plan based on their results. After the test, students receive feedback on how ready they are for college and have access to tools that help them improve. Students also get free access to My College QuickStart ™, which includes an interactive score report, a personality test, major and career suggestions and a starter list of colleges. On the day the PSAT/NMSQT is administered, students will have the option to receive free information about college admissions and financial aid information, as well as universities and scholarship programs that are interested in them.
Visit the LISD College and Career Readiness website
for more information about the PSAT/NMQST and access the free resources available.
On Wednesday, October 1st and Thursday, October 2nd, Leander ISD dance teams will take the stage in the 7th annual “iDance” beginning at 7 p.m. both nights at the Don Tew Performing Arts Center. This exciting event will feature the CPHS Celebrities, LHS Blue Belles, RHS Royals, VHS Legacies, and VRHS Star Steppers along with all the middle school dance teams. Tickets are $10. Tickets may be purchased from any of the high school dance teams.
On Thursday, September 18,
the RecognizeGood Foundation held its August 2014 RecognizeGood Legend ceremony and honored Leander ISD staff member Karen Faulkner. The non-profit she founded, Student Charities, received a $1,000 pay-it-forward donation from RecognizeGood as part of the ceremonies. Faulkner was honored because of her work with Backpack Feeding Program, an effort that helps to feed hungry students in LISD.
In 2009, working as the registrar at Wiley Middle School, Faulkner noticed that too many students in LISD had little to nothing to eat when they weren’t at school. Deciding to do something about it, Faulkner organized and gathered food to send home in backpacks to children on the school’s free- and reduced-lunch program. Although the Backpack Feeding Program started small with just a handful of backpacks, since the effort was launched five years ago, Faulkner and her team of volunteers have sent home more than 22,000 backpacks filled with basic food items to help feed LISD students and their families over the weekend.
Faulkner has been the driving force behind the LISD Backpack Feeding Program, which is now run under the non-profit organization called Student Charities. Along with the backpacks, Student Charities sends Home Food Boxes containing enough food to feed a family of four for the two-week holiday break in December, as well as Nurse Care Packages containing healthy snacks for nurses on 16 different campuses to give out to hungry students.
In addition to her work with Student Charities, Faulkner has also been active with PTA boards, Band Boosters, Saint Thomas More Church, Mobile Loaves & Fishes and other organizations.
As a 2014 Legend, Faulkner is now eligible to receive RecognizeGood’s annual Say Thanks Austin award, where the public says "thanks" to their favorite Legends, qualifying them for a $10,000 pay-it-forward donation to his or her favorite nonprofit. The Say Thanks Austin Campaign will run in January and February of 2015.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) announced that Leander ISD volunteer Gustavo Perez was one of 15 Texans named as a Hero for Children for having provided hundreds of hours of volunteer service to Texas public schools. Perez is an active member of the Whitestone Elementary School Dual Language Parent Advisory Committee that helps the district plan and problem solve with the goal of increasing attendance at Dual Language family nights and with parent participation at the campus level. He also works extensively with the Tejas Lee Program every week. Perez was honored with the Heroes for Children award at the SBOE meeting on Friday, Sept. 19.
Pleasant Hill Elementary ESL teacher Jose Rodríguez was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics for his service to the students of LISD! Read the full article.
LISD high school choir programs will combine on Monday, Sept. 29, for LISD's Choral Showcase, at the Don Tew PAC, located at Leander High School, at 7 p.m. The showcase will feature students from all five LISD high schools. Admission is $5 per person, with all proceeds being placed in a fund for fine arts students who need assistance in meeting the financial demands of participating in a fine arts activity.
LEEF Mudstacle & Family Fun Run
Early registration is good until September 14th!
The Mudstacle is a 3.1-mile (5K) combination mud and obstacle course designed to test the adventurer in you! Climb, crawl and run your way through our mud and obstacle course. With waves that offer varying lengths and obstacle difficulties, the LEEF Mudstacle has something to challenge every member of the family.
Come early and stay late to enjoy the food booths, give-aways from local businesses and an interactive kid zone featuring bounce houses, face painting and more.
When: October 25th @ 8:30 am
Where: Vista Ridge High School
Remember to sign up for your school's team and help them qualify for cash and other prizes!!
Click here to register today!
For more information go to the LEEF Website or Mudstacle Facebook page
A big thank you to our Mudstacle sponsors for their support of LEEF and the students and teachers of Leander ISD!
As the new school year has started, we have received a few inquiries regarding the Common Core, the national curriculum standards, and Leander ISD’s involvement with it. Let me be clear: Leander ISD is not part of the Common Core. Texas is not part of the Common Core. The state even passed a law last legislative session, House Bill 462, that explicitly prohibits the adoption of the Common Core by the State Board of Education, thus prohibiting school districts from adopting the Common Core.
As a Texas school district, we are charged with implementing the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the state curriculum. When we consider textbook and instructional material adoptions, we verify that the materials are aligned to the TEKS. We then ask the community for their input to ensure the materials are aligned with our community values.
As you might imagine, there are some resources we use that meet the requirements of the TEKS and the community and have some overlap with the Common Core. These materials are resources and activities only and are not an attempt by the district to implement the Common Core. The state has commented on this overlap, as well. In an opinion about HB 462, Attorney General Greg Abbott stated that the intent of HB 462 was not “’to prevent the use of materials where the two standards may overlap…’” It was “to prohibit the ‘outright adoption of the national Common Core standards’" (GA-1067
I appreciate all those who have taken the time to ask for clarification about Leander ISD and the Common Core. It is my hope that this information addresses those concerns.
At the Thursday, September 4, 2014, Leander ISD Board of Trustees meeting, Superintendent Bret Champion announced that the district earned a 2014 Platinum Leadership Circle Award from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
“We are very pleased to receive this prestigious recognition for our efforts to provide a high standard of financial transparency online,” said Champion. “As a recipient of the Platinum Award level, LISD is recognized as an organization that goes above and beyond to ensure that our community and taxpayers know exactly how their money is being spent.”
LISD received a Leadership Circle Award Certificate, a digital seal to post on its website and a letter from Susan Combs congratulating the district on joining the Comptroller’s Leadership Circle. In addition, LISD’s listing on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ “Texas Transparency” website (TexasTransparency.org
) displays the Platinum seal to indicate that the district has received this award.
The Comptroller of Public Accounts launched the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program in 2009 to spotlight local governments that are: opening their books to the public; providing clear, consistent pictures of spending; and sharing information in a user-friendly format that lets taxpayers easily drill down for more detail.
Please be advised that the three public meetings set for community feedback on Elementary Attendance Zones set for September 10th, 11th and 16th have been POSTPONED pending additional information to be presented to the Board of Trustees at the September 18th Board Meeting.
Details on the times and locations of the rescheduled public meetings will be posted once confirmed. We apologize for any inconvenience.
The Leander ISD District-wide Educational Improvement Council (DWEIC) is a committee of parents, business and community members, teacher, principals and other district staff to advise the Board in establishing and reviewing the district's educational goals, objectives, major district-wide classroom instructional programs and to approve staff development of a district-wide nature.
The district is seeking the following representatives for the DWEIC:
- Parent Volunteers - must be a parent of a current Leander ISD student and may not be employed by the district
- Community Member Volunteers – must reside in district, must be at least 18 years old, may not be employed by the district and may not be a parent of a current Leander ISD student
Business Representative Volunteers – may be selected without regard to whether they reside in the district or whether the business they represent is located in the district
DWEIC meets approximately three times a year from 4:30 – 6 pm. The meeting dates are scheduled for Tuesday, September 30; Thursday, December 11; and Thursday, February 26 at Support Services (1900 Cougar Country in Cedar Park).
You can apply to be a volunteer. If you have questions about DWEIC or the application, please contact Donna Lincke
or call 512-570-0237. The deadline for submitting an application for 2014-2015 is 8 a.m. on Monday, September 22, 2014.
Leander ISD sponsors the creative problem-solving program, Destination ImagiNation (DI). DI is an extracurricular, school-sponsored program that fosters creativity and team-based problem-solving skills and life skills for students. Leander ISD DI is open to all students in third through twelfth grades.
What does it take to form a team?
- A maximum of seven students are placed on a team.
- Parent volunteers make this program possible. Please consider volunteering as a Team Manager. No special skills are required to be a Team Manager other than your willingness to work with a great, creative group of kids!
If your student is interested in participating in DI, please download the registration forms (see below link), complete and return to your campus QUEST teacher by September 25, 2014.
For more information and to access forms, please visit the DI webpage
Christine Camacho Elementary School, located on Municipal Drive in Leander, will open for the 2015-16 school year next August. The Board has asked the administration to hold three public meetings in order to receive feedback from the community on several possible different scenarios that could impact numerous elementary attendance zones throughout the district. These meetings will be held:
September 10, 2014, 7:00 PM at Running Brushy Middle School Cafeteria [2303 N. Lakeline Blvd., Cedar Park]
September 11, 2014, 7:00 PM at LEO Conference Center [300 S. West St., Leander]
September 16, 2014, 7:00 PM at LEO Conference Center [300 S. West St., Leander]
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus Rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes.
To purchase discount tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com and use the promo code: LISD
On Monday, September 22, Leander ISD will host its annual Festival of Bands at Bible Stadium in Leander, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Students, parents and community members are invited to attend. This exciting event will feature the LISD high school marching bands and auxiliaries in exhibition marching performances. In addition, the LISD middle school bands will perform selections while seated. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children under four get in free. Tickets may be purchased at the gate. Athletic passes will not be accepted for this event. Proceeds from the Festival of Bands will support fine arts and cheer programs throughout LISD.
Leander ISD will dedicate its newest school, Officer Leonard A. Reed Elementary, on Wednesday, September 10, at 6 p.m. in the school’s MPR (multipurpose room).
Officer Leonard A. Reed Elementary is named after Cedar Park Police Officer Leonard Allen Reed who lost his life in an accident while on duty in August of 2010. Officer Reed was a deeply respected member of both the law enforcement and Cedar Park communities and was admired for his passion for helping others. As a school resource officer at Vista Ridge High School, he was widely known as a positive role model and mentor to young people who looked to Officer Reed as someone they could turn to when they needed help.
Reed Elementary is located at 1515 Little Elm Trail in Cedar Park in the Red Oaks subdivision. The school opened its doors to more than 630 students on the first day of school on Monday, August 25.
The community is invited to attend the dedication.