Last week, I wrote about many of our seniors spending their first days in February participating in COOL (Career Opportunities on Location) Week, partnering with area businesses, government agencies and organizations to do a mini-internship. This week, I would like to share what our nearly 5,000 employees will be doing during that time.
Feb. 6 and 7 will mark the 24th-annual LISD Continuous Improvement Conference at Vista Ridge High School. This is our day-and-a-half professional development conference for all teachers, aides, administrators, etc., planned and executed by our district. Educational experts from throughout the district, state and nation will share their knowledge, best practices and words of inspiration. Attendees can choose from hundreds of breakout sessions targeted to their areas of focus: helping students tackle anxiety, mental health and mindfulness; integrating technology into the classroom; sharing successful research-based instruction; tools to encourage student ownership of learning; managing classroom behavior; clinics for band instructors; case studies helping elementary students transition to middle school; fostering parent engagement; exploring various district programs (gifted and talented, AVID, transition services for SPED students ages 18-21, alternative learning centers); and on and on.
Additionally, staff will have the important opportunity to network, brainstorm and build relationships with their counterparts throughout the district, opening the door further for collaboration and sharing strategies that benefit our students.
We are excited to welcome renowned author Todd Whitaker to deliver our keynote address on What Great Educators Do Differently. I am also thrilled to have students from several of our schools teaming up with our presenters to share their perspective and experience from the other side of the desk.
The conference also provides another chance for us to partner together with the businesses that serve our community, including vendors that provide health screenings and related information at the Health & Wellness Expo on Monday, as well as local food trucks that will park on-site to allow our attendees more learning time.
I can assure you, this expansive undertaking, requiring an enormous amount of logistical planning and coordination—transportation, presenters, meals, schedules, etc. for thousands of people—is a unique and bright spot in the public education landscape. While educators in all school districts are required to complete continuous learning hours, dedication of this magnitude to allowing every single employee the opportunity for professional development is unique. This speaks volumes of LISD’s prioritization of modeling continuous, lifelong learning for our students, enabling the best practices in education to spread throughout our district and inspiring all employees regardless of job title to remember what it truly means to create bright futures for all our students.
If you would like to learn more about what our staff will be learning and doing at the Continuous Improvement Conference, please visit our website and look for the Professional Development section under the Faculty/Staff tab.
I would also like to congratulate the Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF) on its second Drop the Mic Gala held last month. It was a fantastic time for everyone in attendance, and it raised more than $100,000 that will be invested back into LISD schools! A special congratulation to the Vista Ridge High School feeder team on their outstanding lip sync performance and on winning $2,000 for their Project Graduation.
Lastly, please save the date for the 2017 State of the District presentation on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, at Hill Country Bible Church - Lakeline. I am excited to share our growth over the past year and the road ahead, to hear firsthand from some of our outstanding students and to share observations from my first 100 days as superintendent. The presentation will be part of a luncheon, including a networking opportunity beforehand at 11 a.m. The luncheon is open to the public, but tickets are required and can be purchased through the LEEF website at www.leeftx.org.