What an exciting day for us in Leander ISD! The first day of school is one of my favorite days of the year as our schools once again fill with bright, shining faces and the hum of excitement spreads through each classroom.
I had the pleasure of visiting many campuses across our district last week, including our brand new Akin Elementary and several schools with new principals. And at each stop, the high-level organization, enthusiasm and cohesion was almost palpable.
I was touched by the preparation evidenced throughout. Students arrived well-rested and on time with backpacks stocked with all the necessary supplies. They knew where to go, what to do and what was expected of them.
Classrooms were properly furnished and lovingly decorated, with teachers welcoming students as they arrived. Facilities were clean and orderly. Playgrounds and athletic fields were freshly mulched, mowed and lined.
Behind the scenes, we had an army of volunteers manning transportation phone lines to field parent calls about bus routes, assisting crossing guards and directing foot traffic at schools to ensure a smooth start to the day.
I am proud of the leadership our principals and school administrators have shown in the past week, and in the months leading up to it, to start our students and staff on a successful path. And I would encourage each of you find an opportunity to support that path to success.
Take a moment to thank a teacher, a bus driver, a member of our child nutrition services team, a receptionist or educational aide. Consider joining the PTA; register as a volunteer; become a mentor, Literacy Partner, robotics coach, Destination Imagination volunteer or Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students); register for the LEEF Mudstacle Family Fun Run; or contact us about marketing your business in LISD.
Information about these and other volunteer opportunities is located on our website within the School/Community Relations department.
I would also like to take a moment to address Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it brought to so many of our friends and family along the Gulf Coast. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost so much in its wake, as well as the many volunteers who are helping with the search, rescue and rebuilding efforts.
We have been in close, frequent contact with our local emergency personnel, as well as school district officials in the area, and I will share any organized efforts to help once we have identified the best way to do so.
In the meantime, I want to thank you all for your patience as we monitored weather conditions in LISD the weekend prior to the start of school. I participated in at least a dozen calls and meetings with our local coalition of inclement weather consultants (Williamson and Travis county emergency management; meteorologists; district facility and transportation managers; other area school district and higher education leaders).
Please know the decisions made around bad weather events, or other emergency situations that could harm our students or staff, are never made lightly. There is always much to consider — varying weather conditions for all 200 square miles of LISD, for our inexperienced high school drivers, for students who walk to school or for staff who drive in from outside our district.
You can read more about how and when we make decisions regarding inclement weather and the protocol we follow at www.leanderisd.org/weather.
I am grateful the weather cooperated for our start to the new school year, for the chance to be a part of so many of your first day of school activities and for all those working so hard to support us with 1 Purpose, 1 Community, 1 LISD!