A Fresh Start

Staff, Students Share Insight on School Construction, Systems


Ruchi Sankolli

The front office overlooks the streets, displaying its newly added extensions. The construction of these extensions began in May of the previous school year, and was completed in the beginning of this school year. Principal John Sloan explains the intentions behind this change, as well as the way the front office now functions. “When people come in, there is a secure vestibule, and they have to check in with the receptionist and make sure they have a good purpose for being here,” Sloan said. “We have to make sure we are letting people in who are here for a good reason.”

Ruchi Sankolli, Reporter

The school has been through some major changes over the course of a year, from extensions in the science building to new locker rooms to an updated stadium. The most noticeable change in the school is the front office, which has a secure and organized system of permitting access to visitors, with updated security measures. 

“When people come in, there is a secure vestibule, and they have to check in with the receptionist and make sure they have a good purpose for being here,” principal John Sloan said. “We have to make sure we are letting people in who are here for a good reason.”

In addition to the front office modifications, construction on the science building is finished, after months of work that started last spring. Multiple exits have been added, as well as another hallway that houses more classrooms, including physics, engineering and tech rooms, to make more flexible space, according to Sloan. 

“It was a science addition, but it was also to incorporate some of the STEM Programs,” Sloan said.

The extension increased the space capacity of the classrooms, a characteristic the teachers appreciate. 

“The changes are wonderful because of the space and the access to equipment is a lot easier,” science department head and Pre-AP and AP Physics teacher Allison Trueblood said. “Last year, we didn’t have any room to do our labs, so we had to do them in the hallway. We also didn’t have tables to do our labs.” 

Another notable change in the science building is the new robotics room. Hardware and software rooms were built with automatic machinery, and lighting has been improved. 

Senior Zoya Deen, who is the vice president of engineering for the robotics team, said that she was satisfied with the results. 

“This has been a tougher transition, but overall, I am pleased with the infrastructure,” Deen said. “It is nice to see that we are being incorporated, and we now have a tool room as well as better lighting.”

The new robotics lab has enabled the students to a larger space to work, according to sophomore robotics team member, Barbara Sylvester. 

Although progress has been made, there is still ongoing construction. After the girl’s locker rooms are completed, the construction team will move out to the field house and make some expansions for the increasing number of athletes. 

In addition to the physical changes, the student information system has been updated as well, with a system known as Home Access Center (HAC).  

HAC is a more detailed version of TXconnect that now discloses not only student grades, but keeps an accurate record of their attendance, classwork, report cards, schedule, notifications and progress reports. In addition to the desktop version, there is now a mobile app known as eSchoolPLUS available on the App Store and Google Play.

Sloan said that the Leander ISD district conducted a study where they asked staff members of their expectations of an enterprise software system. Then, upon doing some post survey research on systems that matched their expectations, the district decided it was best to use this system. According to the Leander ISD website, Home Access Center was adopted in order to increase staff productivity and improve student success.

Because of the details HAC provides, sophomore Charlotte Maham said she likes the format of the system. 

“I like the new format and how it is easy to find our grades,” Maham said. “It is very different from TXconnect, and I like being able to see my grades whenever I like.” 

Sylvester said the new information system and the physical changes of the school are an improvement.

“It helps promote a newfound safety among the staff and students both,” Sylvester said. “I admit, at the beginning it was a little confusing, but I think all of the new changes have had a positive impact on the school overall.”