The eSchool Media K-12 Hero Awards, sponsored by Trox, highlights inspiring examples of education during the COVID-19 pandemic

A Texas district manages major modernizations and upgrades–all during COVID


The eSchool Media K-12 Hero Awards, sponsored by Trox, highlights inspiring examples of education during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and that means educators across the globe are still finding inventive and innovative ways to support and teach students in classrooms, during hybrid instruction, and in virtual settings.

The eSchool Media K-12 Hero Awards program, sponsored by Trox, recognizes the determined and dedicated efforts of educators throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Never before have educators been challenged and tested as they were, beginning in March 2020 and up until today, and never before has their resilience been more apparent. Administrators, technology leaders, classroom teachers, and educators in all roles have persevered as they taught each and every one of their students during a global pandemic.

Here, eSchool News highlights Leander ISD–one of its K-12 Hero Awards finalists. Keep reading to discover how this district keeps learning going in the middle of a global pandemic.

Nominee: Leander ISD

Nominated by: HID Global

What makes this nominee a hero?

Leander ISD, located outside of Austin, TX, has 42,000 students and 2,800 full time teachers. There are over 40 buildings within the district bordering Austin, Round Rock, Lakeway, and Georgetown.

At Leander ISD, Darla Humes, PHR, CTSBO, is responsible for the following Teams:

-District Emergency Management and First Responder

-District Wide Threat Assessment

-Risk Management Strategies and Oversight

-Property and Casualty Insurance

Darla led the School Physical Safety and Security modernization and upgrade efforts with the assistance of Security Manager James Hindman during the earliest stages of the COVID pandemic. In March of last year her team undertook a districtwide access control initiative that covered nearly 1,000 HID Signo Card Readers and several thousand HID Seos credentials.

This project, during the worst, most unpredictable and uncertain time imaginable, was designed, implemented, and managed with a combination of remote and onsite work by the team to accomplish it before a back-to-class decision was made by the Texas Education Agency for Texas districts.

Using resources from Open Options, 3Sixty Integrated in San Antonio, TX, and HID representatives, the LISD Team was able to implement a phased installation approach with the staff and students working remote. By the time a return-to-class option was implemented by the district, the major areas had been renovated and the district was able to implement much-needed COVID protocols such as Contact Tracing and Reporting, touch-free access to buildings, and integrated video surveillance to assist disinfection crews, maintenance, facilities, food service, and nursing staff (temperature checks and rapid COVID testing…. on time and on budget.

The strategic thinking, combined with timely and proper planning of Darla and her Risk Management teams, including Security Director Russell Bundy and Security Manager James Hindman, were a huge win for the district, its employees, its students, and the community.

Laura Ascione

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