We serve the best generation of students I have seen in my 30 years in public education. The students, young men and young women who attend Leander ISD are compassionate, caring and talented.
In partnership with our School and Community Relations team, I am working to capture the student voice this year. We recently featured our first prompt for students, asking them a simple question: “What’s on your mind to start the school year?”
Students wrote about grades, class schedules, building social skills, transitioning from middle to high school, traffic and dealing with stress.
“This is my first year in high school and it’s really fun so far,” one high school freshman wrote. “High school is so different from middle school. There’s more sports, classes that help you figure out what you want to do for a job, and much more.”
Another high school student wrote about his transition from another school district and his appreciation for block scheduling.
“Gone are the days of getting seven homework assignments every day, and a new age has dawned upon me — where you get about three to four assignments every day with the payout of extended class periods — and I hope it stays like this.”
Students expressed concerns with dress codes and a new Leander ISD initiative for web filtering, which restricts access to certain websites on LISD laptops no matter where a student connects to the internet. Our duty is to keep the learning environment safe for students, which extends outside our walls when it comes to digital learning. A perfect web filter does not exist, so we need our students and teachers to continue submitting the blocked content forms for our technology team to review.
Several students wrote about dealing with stress, a common theme in my conversations with parents. For families seeking help, we are providing a six-week seminar, “Parenting the Love and Logic Way.” The class runs Sept. 27 to Nov. 1 for a $35 fee, and you can find more information on the district and school websites.
We have caring adults throughout our schools, including counselors, teachers, coaches, librarians, principals and support staff. If you are looking for some thoughtful tips or advice, the following suggestions hit home for me when thinking about myself and my sons when they were in high school.
?Sleep! You will feel better and your stress level will decrease.
?Schedule a realistic day. Too many activities in a limited time is stressful.
?Do not rely on your memory. Take good notes and make reasonable to-do lists.
?Be prepared to wait.
?Procrastination is stressful. Do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today.
?Learn to say ‘no.’
?Eliminate destructive self-talk. Be positive about yourself and surround yourself with positive people.
?Take time for yourself. It is OK to relax.
?Turn off your phone. Focus on talking to others face to face or simply rest.
I want to thank all the students who took part in our first Student Voice submission. We will release a September prompt at leanderisd.org/department/superintendent/. Getting to know our students better keeps me inspired to lead the best school district in Texas.