Leander ISD expands remote learning, adding 2,025 additional students

From Leander ISD on Aug. 10:

We will be expanding our remote learning program for approximately 2,025 additional students currently on the waitlist in grades K – 6 through Oct. 8. (end of the first 9 weeks). We are continuing to explore options for 508 students in grades 7 – 12 who expressed interest in remote learning on our waitlist.

The school year for students in remote learning will be delayed until Aug. 19. The school year will start on time for all in-person learners on Aug. 12. 

“We hear many people in our community share the real anxiety regarding this surge of COVID-19 as we prepare to open school,” Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D. said. “We are working diligently to put the safety of all members of our #1LISD family first, while at the same time ensuring the best possible in-person experience for students who choose to return.”

Pre-K students from the remote learning waiting list will not receive virtual instruction. Instead, they will be able to work with the district’s Parents as Teachers program for resources and learning. We will send those families more information by Aug. 19.

We will always provide an in-person learning opportunity for any student who chooses. We believe most students learn best in person with a high-quality teacher.

Timeline from our Remote Learning Planning

Next Steps for Remote Learning

1. Families on the waitlist need to verify their enrollment

2. Identify teachers for remote learning

  • This may cause changes to classroom assignments for students grades K – 6. 
  • Students may have their teacher changed during the year as students reenter in-person learning. 
  • Students in remote learning may have a teacher from a different school than their assigned school. 

3. Start remote learning program on Aug. 19

  • Teachers will be contacting their parents as soon as possible. We ask for patience as we launch this expanded program. 

4. Return to in-person learning

  • When parents feel comfortable sending their child back to in-person school, we will accommodate those families.
  • We will not allow students re-entering in-person school to go back into remote learning. 

5. Remote learning offered through the nine-week grading period

  • The 300 students initially enrolled in our remote learning program can attend through the first semester (Dec. 17). 
  • For the students off the waitlist, we will only guarantee a remote option for the new students through the first nine weeks, ending Oct. 8. 

Participation Parameters for Remote Learning Program 

  • All courses necessary to fulfill basic promotion and/or graduation requirements will be offered for remote learners. Advanced and elective course offerings will be limited and determined by student enrollment and staff availability.
  • Special education/504, and gifted and talented services will be provided for remote learners.
  • Students learning remotely may be enrolled with a teacher who is not from their zoned campus. 
  • Secondary students will not be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities.

High School Remote Learning through Edgenuity

High School Remote Learning Program students will receive instruction via Edgenuity for their selected courses. 

Edgenuity presents the course by units, with instruction occurring through recorded lessons by teachers, followed with the practice of the skills, and a quiz before moving on to the next topic. At the end of a specific unit, a test will be presented to the student covering the content from the unit. 

Students are allowed to work at their own pace, but will receive guidance from teaching staff to ensure staying on target in all courses. 

Guidance from State 

The state of Texas does not fund remote learning. The district does not receive per-student funding for students in remote learning. To fund the program, we are reallocating federal stimulus funds through the ESSER III grant. The program cost is about $2 million for the first 300 students because we added additional teaching positions. 

Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath issued new guidance for students in isolation after testing positive with COVID-19 or in quarantine after coming into close contact with a positive person. The House and Senate in the statehouse submitted legislation for the special session to fund remote learning. 
For a list of state representatives in our school district, please click here.