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District Transfer Students

January 10, 2016

The following was posted on December 11, 2014 on transfer students. Recent input has brought the topic up again for discussion.

December 11, 2014

At the November regular meeting, the Board was presented a report on the economics of transfer students in Eanes ISD. For years, there have been questions and inaccurate information about the transfer program, which brings in approximately $2.5 million of benefit annually to the budget. The report included information on how much transfer students cost the district, as well as the economic impact of charging tuition to non-resident transfers.

 

 

GPA Committee Update

December 16, 2016

At the December 13 meeting, the Board heard additional comments on the proposed GPA system changes during a special Open Forum. Prior to the meeting, the Board also received a document with dozens of comments submitted online.

The Board voted down the proposed changes to all but one component and instead charged the District to convene a new committee to allow further discussion and consideration. In January, the Board will begin to establish parameters and guidelines for continued study.

The component related to Latin honors for graduation distinctions passed 6-1. This addition to the academic achievement policy expands honors based on achieving a certain weighted numerical grade average threshold. Criteria for honors will be published in the high school course catalog and will go into effect for the Class of 2018. 


Eanes ISD Seeks Feedback on District of Innovation & Local Control

November 1, 2016

Eanes ISD has posted its plan online to become a District of Innovation & Local Control (DOI), and is seeking feedback on the proposal for the next 30 days. Eanes ISD is pursuing the designation to allow more flexibility and autonomy, with the freedom to transcend traditional parameters while creating a culture that values imagination, innovative instruction and local control.

The process began in June, and after numerous discussions with the District Leadership Team (DLT), the committee identified the following exemptions on which to focus:

  1. maintain reasonable class sizes in grades K-4 of 22:1 or less, except in rare and extenuating circumstances
  2. determine a flexible school start date
  3. allow unique alternatives to educator certification for distinctive courses or needs
  4. adjust instructional minutes and school-day length
  5. implement a local teacher and administrator appraisal system


Districts are not exempt from statutes that address curriculum, assessment and graduation requirements as well as academic and financial accountability.

The proposed plan is posted online until November 30, at which time any feedback submitted will be examined and discussed at the DLT’s December 5 public meeting. Once a draft is finalized, the plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the December 13 regular meeting, followed by a possible vote to approve. 

The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, which created Texas Education Code chapter 12A.

The plan, timeline and FAQ’s are online: http://eanesisd.net/doi.



Principals, Principles, Principals

May 31, 2016

May 31, 2016

Principals, Principles, Principals
Principals, Principles, Principals
 
Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff,
  
In my end-of-year message last week, I mentioned we have three principals leaving Eanes ISD. In the case of two of them, retiring principals Brad Wirht at Bridge Point Elementary and Charles McCasland at Forest Trail Elementary, we knew that they were leaving with months of notice. With that advance notice at these two campuses, we were able to advertise the positions, conduct stakeholder surveys, organize interviews with students, staff and parents, and involve more than 80 people in the interview/selection process. Our process was inclusive and what we feel, in ideal circumstances, the best process to identify new leadership in our campuses.
 
As you may or may not know, John Carter announced in late May that he was accepting a position to be closer to family in Illinois, and would not return to Westlake High School for the 2016-17 school year. It was quickly decided that during our last week of school, our focus should be on all of our students and not administrative transitions. At Westlake HS in particular our focus was on finishing final exams and on our graduating seniors. To that end, we decided to hold off on any decision or announcement on the principal selection until after Westlake's graduation. With graduation over, we feel this is the appropriate time to share our strategy to bring new leadership to these three schools. 
 
 
Charles McCasland
Brad Wirht 
       
John Carter
 
Transitions, Transitions-- Bridge Point Elementary and Forest Trail Elementary ....
On June 7, at our regularly scheduled Board meeting, we will ask our Trustees to consider our recommendations for new principals at Bridge Point Elementary and Forest Trail Elementary.

Transition - Westlake High School ....
The selection process that we followed at BPE and FTE is one that with enough advance notice, we would replicate for the high school. As we enter June, we do not have the same time for a complete process that we had for the two elementary schools.
  
The high school, in particular, is unique in that it is an extremely active place during summer with all of the student events that occur, including summer school. While we believe in an inclusive process, we also believe that we need to move quickly in establishing a smooth transition, with the latter being our highest priority at this time.
  
After consultation with my administrative team, we decided that if we could find the ideal person, we would want to appoint that person to the Westlake High School principal position on an interim basis immediately. Later, during the Winter/Spring of 2017 we will determine the best process for determining our permanent selection. For an interim to be immediately effective, we need someone who knows Eanes ISD, knows Westlake HS, knows our community, and is a proven leader. We are fortunate to have that person in our school district.
  
I have asked West Ridge Middle School principal Mr. Steve
Steve Ramsey 
Ramsey to take on this role and he has graciously accepted. Mr. Ramsey spent close to 12 years at Westlake HS teaching social studies, coaching football and soccer, and serving as an assistant and associate principal. He knows many of the faculty, parents and students, so I believe the transition will be seamless. 
  
When someone is named an interim, it can have different meanings, purposes and conclusions. In the case of a true interim, it is meant to be temporary, in which the person will not be a candidate to stay on permanently. In the case of Mr. Ramsey's appointment, should he decide at a later date, we will consider him as a serious and qualified candidate. Nonetheless, for the 16-17 school year, he has agreed to serve in the interim role as the principal of Westlake High School. He will be the leader of Westlake HS, and he will mold and guide his team to make sure we have a smooth transition and a great school year.
  
Mr. Ramsey is comfortable with this plan, and he is excited for the opportunity to lead one of the premier schools in the nation.
  
This morning I met with the high school staff to announce the transition and to answer questions. After that meeting, I am even more convinced that this is the best strategy to follow for this important decision.
  
To our families at West Ridge Middle School, Mr. Ramsey has many fine qualities, but even he cannot be the principal of two schools. Therefore, we will immediately post the job opening for the West Ridge position. As with the case of our high school, opening a principal search in June is not ideal, as contracts have been signed with many principals in the area. In addition, summer schedules impose difficulties for full staff and community involvement. At this time, we have not yet determined whether we can find a candidate who could go through an abbreviated process with stakeholders, or if we will tap into an interim candidate to serve until we are able to have a full selection process similar to that of our two recent elementary schools. In mid to late June, we will provide further communication to the West Ridge Middle School community and staff as our plans evolve.
  
Great schools, great people ....
Whether you are a staff member in Eanes ISD, or whether you are a parent of a child attending any of our schools, I am confident in the exemplary staff we have in our buildings. Even with these transitions, our staff will ensure that your children will receive an excellent education in a wonderful learning environment.
  
Finally, last Friday night, as I watched the students cross the stage at the Westlake graduation, it reinforced that life is full of transitions. In life, change is a given. In schools, leadership transitions are inevitable. And while we will miss those who move on, we look forward to new beginnings, with new people to help guide us during the 2016-17 school year and beyond.
  
Thank you, and have a great summer.
  
 
Dr. Tom Leonard | tleonard@eanesisd.net 
STAY CONNECTED:


Transportation Changes Next Year

May 26, 2016

For many years we have accommodated guest ridership on buses without any issues. In recent years, however, as guest ridership has increased, the effort of managing students switching buses unexpectedly and intermittently has become more difficult. Our Transportation Department is accommodating daily requests and managing unknowns, all putting an increased burden on registered riders, campus staff and bus drivers. We need to be able to plan our ridership as much as we can, and provide the most efficient routes possible.

Guest ridership can also lead to overcrowded buses, which is a safety issue. There have been several instances this year where unanticipated/unassigned passengers created overcrowded buses for those assigned on the route. And unlike an airline, when a bus is full, it is not as simple as putting a student on standby.

We cannot be efficient on routes when there are so many unknowns, which leads to increased costs associated with adding routes and stops. Over the years, our Transportation Department has worked to decrease costs, which overall, positively affects the District’s budget. Costs such as fuel, maintenance and staff are standard, but adding stops to routes and absorbing the associated costs has become unmanageable.

Therefore, effective for the 2016-17 school year, we will no longer accommodate guest ridership on our school buses and we will eliminate stops to alternate locations for afterschool programs.

The definition of a guest rider is a student who rides a bus other than the one they are assigned.

Example of what is allowed: student remains on assigned bus.

  1. Johnny’s assigned bus to get home is the Bison bus, but he wants to go to Alex’s house, which is also on the Bison bus route. This is allowed because Johnny is already accounted for on the Bison bus.


Example of what is not allowed: student changes bus route and/or goes to added stop on route.

  1. Johnny’s assigned bus to get home is the Bison bus, but on Wednesday he wants to ride the Ostrich bus so that he can play with Jack. This is not allowed because Johnny is not accounted for on the Ostrich bus.
  2. Johnny wants to ride the Bison bus to a different location, such as the Laura Bush Library, Westbank Library, or the Westlake Athletic & Community Center (WACC). This is not allowed because it is an added stop for the bus route.

 
Of course, there are mitigating circumstances such as emergencies where our campuses and Transportation Department will work with families.

We will send a reminder message on these changes prior to the start of school. While we are in talks with outside groups such as the libraries and WACC who may offer transportation to their respective programs, until that is finalized, please make alternate plans to these locations for next school year.


Early Release Days Pilot to Launch Next Year

May 25, 2016

For the past three years, Eanes ISD has carefully designed professional development for its staff using late start days to conduct training and provide time for teachers to collaborate on best instructional practices.

Recently, our District Leadership Team (DLT), which is comprised of teachers, parents and administrators, recommended piloting early release days. After discussion with numerous groups, including athletics and extracurricular programs, we have determined that in the 2016-17 school year, we will no longer have late start days, and instead will have early release days for staff professional development.

Please note the early release days for 2016-17:
September 13
October 7
December 1
January 13
February 28 and
April 19

Plus, end of the semester days: December 16 and May 25

Early release days for elementary parent conferences:
October 19, 20 and 21

The DLT recommended the pilot after discussing benefits such as:

  • Provides consistency for parents, since parent conference days and the last days of semesters are currently early release days.
  • Allows parents more flexible opportunities for scheduling appointments after school on early release days, rather than before school on late start days.
  • Provides a routine for many students, more specifically for our younger students and Special Education students, who respond better to consistency and routine.
  • Allows intercampus teams to collaborate more consistently and efficiently, and not have to rush back to campuses before the start of the school day. Instead, teams can extend their PLC in the afternoon, which is not an option in the morning.
  • Creates a better opportunity for the District to offer childcare or Community Education courses at the end of the day, rather than early in the morning.


Alongside its department leaders, the District will work in coordination with athletics, fine arts, and other extra- and co-curricular programs to work proactively in planning for practices, games and performances.

Eanes ISD is an innovative district, always focused on improving and learning. As we did with late start days, we will welcome feedback and gather information specific to how early release days affect our families, and how they enhance professional development opportunities. There is always room for improvement, and we hope that this pilot is just that for our families, an improvement. We also hope that this advance notice provides families the opportunities to plan for next school year.

Thank you for allowing our staff time to improve their craft, collaborate and grow. Their participation in professional development only makes our District even better!


Board Approves Recommendation on Student Mobile Device

March 9, 2016

Five years after rolling out its Student Mobile Device Initiative that provided an iPad for every student in the District, Eanes ISD has announced it will upgrade to an iPad Air 2 moving forward. The District’s Digital Learning Task Force conducted 600 hours of meetings, symposiums, site visits, focus groups and presentations as well as collected more than 6,000 survey responses, culminating in the recommendation to the Eanes ISD Board of Trustees at the February 23 meeting, followed by the Board’s approval of the Task Force’s recommendation at the March 8 meeting.

“Parents, community members, students and staff participated in this process to make the most informed decision possible for the future learning of our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard. “Regardless of the device, our students will always participate in rigorous and relevant instruction, but the opportunities that a mobile device can bring to instruction are exciting and endless.”

The Task Force chose the 64GB iPad Air 2, based on its flexibility, best support model, as well as ease of integration. The device will be implemented across grade levels, K-12.

“Students and staff will have a model of iPad that runs 12 times faster, holds four times as much memory and now allows for split-screen multitasking, which was important to those surveyed,” said Carl Hooker, Director of Innovative & Digital Learning. “This also honors the work of many teachers who have utilized the iPad to improve student learning in their classrooms for the past four to five years and reinforces our work on the horizontal and vertical alignment of tools and curriculum within our district.”

After hearing feedback from focus groups and surveys on the need for a physical keyboard, the Task Force also recommended adding keyboard cases or plug-in keyboards, based on grade level. For high school students in particular, the keyboard cases provide versatility in that they allow for full keyboarding on a physical keyboard but also swivel into both kiosk and full tablet modes.

The Task Force also made the recommendation to implement an Eanes ISD App Store, which will limit apps that students can download on district-issued devices, and allows teachers control in the classroom and better restrictions outside of the classroom. The recommendation is based on feedback from parents, teachers and administrators, who stressed a desire to increase limits and restrictions on devices.

At the March 8 meeting, the Eanes ISD Board approved the purchase of iPads using bond funds. Last May, the Eanes ISD community passed a $52.5 million bond which included $5.041 million towards the Student Mobile Device Initiative. The bond funds will be used for devices, cases, keyboards, apps, additional technology needed for the initiative, and management software. The District plans to sell the current iPad 2 inventory.



Digital Learning Task Force Update

January 13, 2016

After numerous meetings and opportunities for input, the Digital Learning Task Force presented a status update at the January 12 Eanes ISD Board Study Session. The presentation included a summary on survey results, findings and initial recommendations.

Click HERE for presentation
Click HERE for links to support documentation

To read more about the DLTF, visit http://www.eanesisd.net/taskforce/dltf.


School Times to Change in January

December 15, 2015

Late in the spring of 2015, the State legislature passed a law that has forced Eanes ISD to implement changes that will affect us all; we need to comply with the changes that are now codified in State law. House Bill 2610, which passed in the last legislative session, requires that public school students receive 75,600 minutes of instruction, instead of what was previously counted as 180 days. Because final requirements and implementation information were not released until late September, we were unable to make adjustments to our schedule ahead of the 2015-16 school year. You may have heard of other local school districts including Leander ISD and Hays CISD, who will also implement schedule changes in January.

In order to meet the required 75,600 minutes, we considered extending the school year (adding days in June), shortening Spring Break, or adjusting school times. For this current school year, we concluded that adjusting daily school times was the least disruptive solution. Future school years will require more discussion by administration and the District Leadership Team, which consists of staff and parents.

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, Eanes ISD will add 10 minutes to the school day for all elementary schools.  While the length of instructional days at the high school and middle schools will remain the same, we will need to shift the secondary schools start and end times by five minutes in order to allow sufficient time for buses to drop off elementary students then continue routes to the middle and high schools. To be clear, the total time for the secondary schools has not been extended; it will stay the same amount of minutes per day, but the start and end times will be five minutes later than currently is the case.

For all high school and middle school students riding buses, beginning January 5, scheduled before school pick-up and afterschool drop-off times will be five minutes later. Elementary bus pick-up times will remain the same, however afterschool drop-off times will be five minutes later, with the exception of Eanes Elementary, which will drop-off 10 minutes later afterschool.

Exact start times are listed in detail for all of our schools below.

                                                               NEW                   NEW                       

                                                           Start Time           Dismissal                

Barton Creek Elementary                 7:40am                2:50pm                  

Bridge Point Elementary                  7:45am                2:55pm                  

Cedar Creek Elementary                  7:40am                2:50pm                  

Eanes Elementary                             7:35am                2:45pm                  

Forest Trail Elementary                     8:20am                3:30pm                  

Valley View Elementary                     7:45am                2:55pm                  

Hill Country Middle School               8:30am                3:57pm                  

West Ridge Middle School                8:30am                3:55pm                  

Westlake High School                        8:45am                 4:10pm



Regarding Blue Bell Ice Cream in EISD Cafeterias

September 1, 2015

By now you have heard that Blue Bell Ice Cream is back on the shelves of local supermarkets.  However, due to the limited sizes and types of ice cream being produced by Blue Bell, we will not be offering Blue Bell ice cream in Eanes ISD cafeterias for the foreseeable future.

Blue Bell doesn't have products packaged for sale at the schools.  There are only four (4) flavors for sale in stores, currently, in half-gallon sizes.  We do not sell, and have never sold, half-gallons of ice cream.

School districts must follow purchasing/procurement guidelines and regulations.  This includes having competitive bids or proposals for products sold by the Child Nutrition department.  Last Spring, Blue Bell opted out of the bidding process with our Purchasing Cooperative, which limits (if not, prevents) our ability to purchase Blue Bell products to offer to our students.

If/when Blue Bell products become available for sale at Eanes ISD cafeterias, and those products meet the purchasing/procurement regulations we must follow, we will be happy to begin making them available for purchase.

2015-16 Enrollment & Class Size Projections

July 30, 2015

Excerpt from Budget Projection Memo Presented to Board May 12, 2015:

For the past few months, district administrators have taken on a very challenging task that involves finding ways to reduce our operating expenditures. It becomes even more difficult when you feel as strongly as we do about our people and programs. At this time, we are planning for a reduction of some FTE positions for the 2015-16 school year.

It is important for all stakeholders to have an understanding of how these reductions will impact the campuses and departments. It is very clear that every employee in this district either works directly with students or works in a position to support those who work directly with students. Careful consideration is being used to make our recommendations to ensure that we maintain equity in terms of the impact on staffing, programmatic experiences for students, and delivery of instruction. As approximately 85% of our budget is tied to personnel, it is inevitable that people will be impacted by these recommendations.

Our goal remains to keep class sizes as reasonable as possible. While reductions are necessary, there are varying aspects of the impact each will have. Reducing classroom teachers, will mean larger class sizes. Reducing other professional positions will mean less support for classroom teachers, reducing administrative positions, will require others to assume the duties and responsibilities to ensure compliance with rules and laws. These reductions will require all district employees to rally and support one another as we move toward 2015-16. Read Full Memo


As the projections are always changing, we will be sharing our enrollment projections with you periodically throughout the summer. 

Visit our Enrollment & Class Sizes page for current projections.

 

Parking at Westlake High School

August 27, 2015

The construction on the Westlake Athletic & Community Center (WACC) site has temporarily decreased student parking for Westlake High School, so campus and district administrators have had to get creative with parking solutions. We have added temporary parking spots throughout the campus footprint, repainted lots to accommodate more spaces and temporarily added student spots in and near the Admin building parking lot.

Before school started, 100% of the seniors who requested a parking space had been accommodated with permits in the PAC, stadium, and TLC lots. The remaining parking spots were then sold to juniors on a waiting list. Currently, Westlake High School has 58 names on the parking waiting list, but some of those are juniors who do not have their license yet, and some are students who recently moved into the district.

Parking is generally an issue with a land-locked campus such as Westlake. Last year was different due to the unusually small senior class (590) and a smaller junior class (615). With a current senior count of 608 and 678 juniors, we are in a more typical pattern. Next year, we anticipate 675 seniors and 675 juniors.


Food Allergy Management Information

April 22, 2015

The number of students with severe and life threatening food allergies, especially those with tree nut allergies, is increasing nationwide. Eanes ISD implemented Nut Free classrooms in 2003, as allergies became more prevalent at the elementary campuses. While allergy management has previously been addressed through Individual Health Plans, the marked increase in cases caused the District to evaluate its practices related to food allergies.

In response to the increase, the District created the Food Allergy Management Plan in the Spring of 2014, with input from parents, school nurses, Special Education staff, administration and the School Safety & Health Advisory Council (SSHAC). The Superintendent approved the regulation August 11, 2014, and the regulation was then revised in March 2015 with input from the same stakeholders.

Please see link below which provides information on the Food Allergy Management Plan, including Frequently Asked Questions.


http://www.eanesisd.net/departments/health/food-allergies

 

Trustees Move Forward With Negotiations on Sale and Lease of Property

March 4, 2015

The Eanes ISD Board of Trustees approved two resolutions at the March 3, 2015 meeting to begin negotiations on a sale of the River Hills Road property to Tires Made Easy, Inc. (a River Hills landowner), and a Ground Lease with Western Hills Little League (WHLL) on a portion of the Baldwin property.

After the Board issued a Request For Offers (RFO) in September 2014 for the approximately 86.7-acre property located near the intersection of Bee Cave Rd and River Hills Road, Tires Made Easy, Inc. was chosen as the best offeror, with a proposed sale price of $4 million. The group will work with Western Hills Little League (WHLL) to negotiate the terms of WHLL’s existing lease on the River Hills Road property.

Separately, Tires Made Easy will donate $2 million to Eanes ISD for the upgrade of existing sports fields within the District.  Donated funds are not recaptured, and help support the District’s Maintenance and Operations (M&O) budget.  Additionally, Tires Made Easy will donate $250,000 to the 12 Fields Foundation for the furtherance of constructing youth sports fields in the Eanes community.

The Board also gave the nod to negotiate a lease with WHLL to build youth sports fields on approximately 27.4 acres of the Baldwin property, located near the intersection of Bee Cave Road and Ashley Worth Blvd. While still in negotiation, it is anticipated that the lease will be for 50 years, with $5,000 rent for the first three years (with a possible one-year extension) or until the project is operational. After the initial period, the annual rent will be $35,000 with a five percent escalation every five years. The District will have the right to use the fields during school days, at no cost to the District. The District retains the right to use the land for a future school.

Read Informational Document, which includes FAQ's

Baldwin Property

September 25, 2014

At the September 23, 2014, Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a Resolution to sell approximately 19.75 acres of unbuildable land owned by the District on Bee Cave Road (commonly known as Tract 3 on the Baldwin Property).

The successful bidder for the land was Regal LLC, the same company who is currently under contract to buy approximately 47.7 acres of adjacent land on the Baldwin Property (Tract 2 on the below property map).

Click image for larger map.
baldwinmap_zoom.jpg


The existing sale agreement with Regal LLC to buy Tract 2 on the Baldwin Property is for $4,600,000. The sale of Tract 3 is for $250,000, with a total sale price of $4,850,000 for 67.45 acres.

The remaining 27.4 acres of land on the Baldwin Property (Tract 1) will be retained for future educational needs; the District has issued a Request for Offers to lease the tract until its use has been determined.


Board Resolution and Contract Details

Request for Offers

 


Westlake Athletic & Community Center

September 4, 2014

Eanes ISD Joins Local Group to Build Multi-Purpose Facility

The Eanes ISD Board of Trustees approved an agreement with Westlake Athletic Center, LLP (WAC) August 27, giving the nod to build a 60,000-70,000 square foot multi-purpose facility on 5.68 acres of the District’s Shriner property, adjacent to Westlake High School.

The agreement, which stems from a Request For Offers (RFO) issued in October 2013, provides Eanes ISD students priority access to the multi-purpose facility for fine arts, wellness and extracurricular activities. Two offers were received and evaluated by the Board, with WAC chosen as the best offer that provided the most benefit to the District, and was consistent with the District’s Facilities Master Plan.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/otqr69h

More on the Westlake Athletic & Community Center...


 

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