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Frequently Asked Questions - Bright Academy

Bright Academy serves Frisco ISD students in grades K-5, including those zoned to the school. It does not enroll students who live outside the District boundaries. There is no cost associated with attendance, but families who choose to attend Bright Academy rather than their home elementary school must provide their own transportation. Students zoned for Bright Academy who live more than two miles from the campus will be eligible for transportation. This aligns with District policy regarding bus eligibility and distance from a student’s home to his or her assigned school.

Bright Academy has a designated attendance zone who live within that zone will be automatically accepted. An admissions process is utilized for students zoned to other Frisco ISD elementary campuses. If more students submit an admissions form than there is space available, the District utilizes a random lottery system to fill available seats.

For the 2019-20 school year, the timeline for the admissions process is below:
Parents and students will be notified of their admissions status via email on May 3. Once notified, parents will have 72 hours to accept or deny the offer to enroll at Bright Academy. The lottery process will continue until all available seats are filled.

Students enrolled in Bright Academy for the 2019-20 school year will be guaranteed acceptance to the school in subsequent years.

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework for elementary students that is founded on a philosophy that recognizes a child’s natural curiosity, creativity and ability to reflect. PYP generates a stimulating, challenging learning environment to nurture those assets and foster a lifelong love of learning in every child. PYP is transdisciplinary, meaning students learn across subject areas while investigating big ideas.

Frisco ISD began incorporating components of the IB philosophy, including the learner profile and spanish enrichment, starting in the 2018-19 school year. 

Official authorization to become an IB World School is a multi-year process. First, schools submit an application for candidacy. Bright Academy was accepted into candidacy in June 2018 and is working towards authorization for 2020. Bright Academy will continue to develop curriculum and implement the programme in the 2019-20 school year. Students enrolled in Bright Academy for the 2018-19 school year would be guaranteed acceptance to the school in 2019-20 and subsequent years.

The decision to pursue the Primary Years Programme at Bright Academy was made after thoughtful planning and consideration. There has been strong community interest in bringing International Baccalaureate to Frisco ISD for many years and it was a goal outlined during the District’s 2015 strategic planning process. Bright Academy is centrally located in the District and has capacity to serve additional students. Student participation and cost will be key considerations in determining whether to expand the programme in the future. There are currently no plans to introduce the Primary Years Programme at other FISD elementary schools.

Frisco ISD is not planning to implement the IB Middle Years Programme at this time. FISD middle schools provide a wide range of opportunities for students, including fine arts, athletics, STEM electives, academic competitions and rigorous coursework. District leaders value student choice and believe that middle school should be a time for students to explore their interests and identify their strengths. The current structure of the IB Middle Years Programme requires a set pathway of coursework that would limit student choice. The District will continue to research and examine additional programming at the middle school level that will best meet students’ needs.

The PLTW: Launch program empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. This program allows students to fully engage in hands-on activities through a creative, collaborative approach to support further development of problem-solving skills. All teachers have been trained in PLTW and will integrate STEM programming within the IB curriculum.

Yes, students that participate in these programs will be taught grade-level TEKS. However, in the PYP, students learn their grade-level TEKS through units of inquiry. The six transdisciplinary themes that guide units of inquiry are as follows:

  • Who we are

  • Where we are in place and time

  • How we express ourselves

  • How the world works

  • How we organize ourselves

  • Sharing the planet

The six units of inquiry interweave all subject areas including mathematics, language arts, science and social studies. This approach encourages students to make their own connections between what they learn in core subject areas and how it relates to the world around them. The PLTW: Launch STEM modules will be integrated into the six units of inquiry as well.

  • IB World Schools are subject to a strict accreditation process monitored by the IB, ensuring that schools provide a high-quality education.

  • IB and PLTW teaching methods and curriculums are research-based and draw from the best educational practices from systems around the world.

  • Teachers are highly trained in the new instructional programming implemented at Bright Academy. Required professional development will continually promote their awareness of current educational practices and new thinking regarding transdisciplinary studies and STEM.

  • Students at Bright Academy are taught foundational Spanish skills as the development of a second language is a requirement within the IB curriculum.

  • Students participating in IB World Schools develop a sense of the world around them and their responsibility to it.

Yes, all Bright Academy teachers continue to receive professional development in IB’s approaches to teaching and approaches to learning from certified IB workshop leaders. In addition, all Bright Academy teachers are trained STEM training on the delivery of the PLTW: Launch modules from master PLTW teachers. All Bright teachers are trained as curriculum designers to support further implementation of IB PYP and PLTW.

No, all programming will be implemented school wide and adapted by teachers to meet the learning needs of all students. All Bright teachers will participate in ongoing collaborative planning sessions and professional learning that supports them in meeting the needs of all learners.

Students at Bright Academy will gain foundational Spanish skills to support them as they learn a second language in middle school. This enrichment will be received as a rotating specials class in addition to physical education, art and music. Classroom teachers will support these foundational Spanish skills as it aligns with instruction to further support language development. This is different from a dual language immersion program.

  • Gifted and Talented: In the 2018-19 school year, students at Bright Academy will continue to receive GT services in a pullout model as wells as through GT clustering. However, in the 2019-20 school year, the delivery of these services will be adjusted to meet the requirements of the IB PYP. With the IB PYP instructional framework being transdisciplinary, the services are received within their classroom with the support of the GT teacher through a “push in” model. The GT teacher and classroom teacher will work together in supporting the needs of gifted learners through the IB curriculum within the classroom setting.

  • Self-Contained Classrooms in Grades 3-5: The typical model in Frisco ISD is for teachers to teach specific subject areas in grades 3-5, resulting in students having more than one content teacher. With the IB PYP being transdisciplinary, it is critical that teachers teach all subjects in order to integrate all curriculum. Therefore, students will have one designated homeroom teacher for the school year. However, flexible grouping does occur in which students may have time to learn from other teachers

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