The tangible culture felt in every school throughout Leander ISD is largely a result of our Guiding Documents, several documents developed through much research and stakeholder input that help steer our district and give us goals to achieve. One of those documents, the 10 Ethical Principals, has been instrumental in helping campuses teach and model the character traits we are working to instill in our students. At both the district and local levels, these principles are regularly used as monthly themes, spirit weeks or celebrated with awards. Our 10 Ethical Principles include: honesty, integrity, promise-keeping, loyalty, concern for others, law-abidance/civic duty, respect for others, fairness, pursuit of excellence and accountability. To help provide a glimpse into our students’ everyday lives and their developing characters, I would like to share a few examples of how these principles are being modeled throughout LISD.
Loyalty: Students at Naumann Elementary worked all semester to prepare for their performance of “The Jungle Book” last month, which featured acting, singing and dancing, as well as the talents of set designers and sound technicians. I particularly enjoyed what fifth-grader Noah Luttrell, who played Mowgli, had to say about his experience: “My favorite part about the musical is getting to work together with everybody. We all get to work together, and we get along really well.” Noah’s peer and fellow actor in the production, Rylan Stedman, shared that same experience, adding, “I think it’s also working on problem-solving, because sometimes things don’t go right, and we have to find a way to persevere as a team.” What an incredible lesson these students have learned, to work and troubleshoot together, to cheer each other on and to recognize that the success of one is the success of all.
Concern for others: While we see this principle demonstrated throughout the year, it seems to be magnified around the holiday season. I would not have room in 10 columns to list all of the many service projects, community outreach efforts, fundraisers and drives our schools have hosted over the past couple months. But I would like to highlight just a couple of the ways our students have shown concern for others, most of which have been student-led efforts. The LISD Council of PTAs operates a Clothes Closet that provides new and gently used clothing to our families in need, and thanks to generous donations, it now has a fully stocked supply of new socks! Schools like Laura Welch Bush, Block House Creek and Deer Creek Elementaries collected and donated more than 2,500 new pairs of socks and underwear to ensure our students do not go without the essentials. Cedar Park and Stiles Middle Schools and Rouse High School held canned food drives that produced nearly 10,000 pounds of food for Hill Country Ministries and our own Student Charities, which both serve LISD families. As part of our recent Unity Week, several student organizations at Cedar Park Middle School chose to support the Peyton Heart Project by placing hand-crochet hearts and inspirational quotes on every locker to encourage students to reflect on kindness and the value of every student’s life.
Pursuit of excellence: In preparation for finals week, Glenn High School hosted Finals Frenzy for two nights, during which the school’s library was stocked with snacks and drinks and stayed open until 10 p.m. so students could prepare for finals, finish projects or organize study groups. Vista Ridge High School has also been tracking how many of their students have received admission to college and scholarship offers, which as of a few weeks ago total $988,053—almost halfway to their $2 million goal!
I cannot say enough how proud I am of our students and how much I enjoy hearing about the exemplary people they are becoming. I applaud all that you are doing to bring the 10 Ethical Principles to life and the bright futures you are building!