Frisco ISD: Pride. Tradition. Excellence.
Because many are choosing to plant roots in the Frisco area, Frisco ISD is at the top of the fastest growing school districts in the state and nation growing by 7-30 percent annually since the early 90s. The district continues to add 2,500-3,500 students each year. As of October 2013, we had enrolled 46,053 students.
Within the 75 square miles of our district, we serve residents of Collin and Denton Counties and residents of Frisco, and some portions of Plano, Little Elm, and McKinney. FISD is 30 miles north of Dallas. The district is about 68 percent built-out considering land that is developed, actively developing, planned for development and in parks. Of the 32 percent of available land that is currently not being developed or planned for development, 44 percent is owned by three landowners.
With this growth comes the responsibility to manage the growth and to build for the future. In 1998, FISD had seven schools. Since that time, FISD has added 49 new schools, opening or modifying/expanding two-to-six campuses annually. To meet the construction needs of the district, the citizens of FISD authorized the issuance of schoolhouse bonds through four referendums in an eight-year period (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006) for a combined total of $1.692 billion ($118 million, $298 million, $478 million and $798 million). These referendums received approval ratings of 95, 96, 89.4 percent, and 72 percent, indicating the strong support of the community for education and for meeting the needs of students. In 2013-14 two high school additions were completed at Heritage and Frisco High. A seventh high school, named Independence, is scheduled to open in 2014, as are four additional elementary schools named for Janice Stahly Scott, James R. Newman, T.H. "Sonny" and Joanne McSpedden, and Pete and Gracie Hosp. In 2015, the district is planning to open the 8th high school, named for retired superintendent Rick Reedy, along with the 14th middle school named for retired fine arts director Daryl Trent.
With the remaining bond funds, the district is finalizing construction to meet the needs of up to 52,000 students – these funds have allowed us to grow to 37 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, and 8 high schools with modifications to existing high schools to increase capacity. Funds are still being used to purchase a school site, provide bulding maintenance and repairs, purchase buses, maintain security and expand and upgrade technology. The safety/security systems at existing and new schools allow the use of digital technology and high resolution cameras to capture images at all times in commons areas, parking lots and building entrances to provide a deterrent to poor behavior and a tool for resolving issues for campus administrators. Controlled access and advanced visitor registration systems are additional safety features at schools. All high schools have school resource officers on site, along with parking lot attendants. There is also an SRO assigned to each middle school and the officer is available to the feeder elementary schools, as well.
The current commitment of the Board, the Administration and the community is to build facilities that maintain a small, personal learning environment. Elementary schools are being built to accommodate 700-plus students; middle schools will serve 800-1,000 students and the high schools are now being built to serve up to 2,100 students. Up until this time, the district built high schools to accommodate 1,800 students, but in 2011 began modifying existing high schools to accommodate up to 2,100 students. This update saves significant construction and operating funds and continues to meet the goals of having smaller schools, while also providing stability. The 7th and 8th high schools are being designed and built at this size. Centennial High received the first addition that was ready in fall of 2011. Wakeland and Liberty received the next modifications in 2012. Frisco High and Heritage were complete in 2013. Having smaller schools allows more students to be involved in activities and for meaningful relationships to be forged between students and teachers. At our high schools, the majority of the student body is involved in some school-related activity outside of the classroom.
As the school district grows in size, so does its commitment to excellence and its focus on providing the best learning opportunities for students. Test scores continue to improve and are well above the state and national averages. More than 75 percent of our seniors take one or more of the college entrance exams, and approximately 90 percent of our graduating seniors plan to continue their education at a college, university, technical school, or the military following high school. Graduating classes continue to earn millions of dollars in scholarships to further their education.
FISD is proud to be a leader in educational technology. Every elementary campus has three computer labs with three additional student computers in core classrooms. Secondary campuses have both PC and Mac computer labs and laptop carts available. FISD teachers have valuable tools available online, allowing flexibility to work anywhere a computer is connected to the internet. Those tools include a curriculum bank, with lessons developed by the curriculum department; a collaborative lesson planner; data analysis for local and state test information; and a student information system, which hosts the grade book, attendance, and other informative student data just a click away. Classrooms have projectors mounted from the ceiling with integrated sound systems, a full line of educational titles available from streaming video servers, document cameras, wireless keyboards and ‘smart tablets,’ and student response systems for interaction and immediate feedback.
Curriculum and instruction is designed to challenge all children and sets high standards for achievement. In addition to the core curricular areas, students at the elementary level participate in special programs including physical education for life-long health and music and art for life-long appreciation. The elementary level (full day K-5 and half-day qualifying pre-K) also provides opportunities for leadership training through student council, choir and other activities. Older students can also participate in the news broadcasts, safety patrol, the Green Team environmental education group and fifth graders enjoy a three –day outdoor learning experience. Lone Star Challenge, Destination Imagination, or UIL are academic competition opportunities available at many schools. YMCA and AlphaBest are currently available as independent contractor services provided by the District for after-school childcare K-5 until 6:30 p.m. daily on all elementary campuses. In addition, there are several independent programs/groups that meet and provide enrichment activities for children after hours in our schools.Full-time counselors, nurses and librarians are also on each campus.
At the middle school level (grades 6-8), academic teaming is used and students can take advantage of many opportunities to excel that may include the Duke University Talent Search, Math/Science Competition, pre Advanced Placement courses, UIL academic competition, Mock Trial, Band, Choir, Art, Theatre Arts, Robotics, Video production, National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, Teen Leadership, Athletics, Yearbook, Academic Pentathlon, among others. Sports offered are volleyball, football, basketball, track, soccer and tennis. A Strings program is also in place at the middle and high school level.
At the high school level (grades 9-12), students have numerous opportunities to excel academically and in extra-curricular activities. More and more Advanced Placement and Honors courses are being offered, with current high school offerings including Language and Composition, Literature and Composition, Computer Science 1/ 2, US History, Government, Macroeconomics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics B/C, Calculus AB/BC, Art Studio, Drawing, Design 2D/3D, Art History, Spanish 4/5; French 4/5, German, Music Theory 2, European History, Environmental Science, Human Geography, World History, Psychology and Statistics. Dual credit classes are offered in conjunction with Collin County Community College; Tech Prep courses are also available. The Independent Study Mentorship Program is offered for qualifying, committed juniors and seniors, enabling them to explore a career through a community mentor, preparing a portfolio and an end-of-course project.
Students can participate in athletics through football, basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, volleyball, track and cross-country, swimming, golf, power-lifting and wrestling. Other clubs and activities may include Band, Color Guard, Chorale Music, Drill Team/Dance, Cheerleading, National Honor Society, Student Council, Academic Decathlon, Computer science/Technology Club, Debate, DECA (Marketing Club), Drama, FFA, FCCLA, French Club, HOSA, National Art Honor Society, National French Honor Society, Robotics, Science Club, Spanish Club and Yearbook.
Special programs services are provided in the District on home campuses or through centralized programming; these include Gifted Instruction, Special Education, ESL/Bilingual, Dyslexia, Head Start, Accelerated Reading/Math Instruction, Credit Recovery and GED.
The teaching staff in the Frisco ISD is also dedicated to continual learning. Professional development is an ongoing commitment with teachers focusing on content and instructional strategies, the alignment of curriculum, the integration of technology and the important task of building strong readers. All elementary teachers are required to obtain 30 hours of gifted instruction toward their professional development, allowing all FISD students to be exposed to gifted strategies whether they are identified as gifted or not. FISD teachers gain at least 12 hours of additional staff development each year that is pertinent to their teaching area. Technology facilitators help ensure meaningful support and modeling for technology integration on the campuses; video conferencing is available for instruction, virtual field trips and school-to-school efforts. The FISD is committed to attracting and retaining the highest caliber of teacher and salaries are competitive. In addition, a Beginning Teacher’s Academy has been established for teachers new to the profession. This program allows for the novice teachers to network and attend sessions prior to the beginning of the school year that focus on areas pertinent to the first year, such as classroom management, lesson plans, parent conferencing, etc. A tuition reimbursement program is in place that encourages teachers to pursue advanced degrees. An innovative 401(a) program has been implemented, along with an in-district child care program and a wellness benefit. FISD also has a program for aspiring adminstrators to assist employees seeking to advance within the district.
The student-to-teacher ratio in FISD is 15:1, however class sizes are as close to 22:1 as possible in grades K-4. In grades 5-12, the class size is maintained as close to 25-28:1 as possible.
Parent and community involvement is encouraged in the FISD schools and PTAs/ PTOs and booster clubs are very active. Mentoring programs are in place, and a school-business partnership program has been developed, along with a speaker’s bureau. The Frisco Education Foundation was established in 1999 to raise money to provide scholarships for graduating seniors and innovative teaching grants for teachers; its major fundraiser is held in October/November of each year – the Gary Burns Frisco Fun Run. District level committees are established as another means of community involvement including the District Improvement Team; Diversity Task Force; School Health Advisory Committee; and the Citizen’s Facility Naming Advisory Committee.
We look forward to you joining FISD becoming a part of keeping our heritage alive, while building new traditions! Frisco and Frisco ISD were 100 years strong in 2002 and are still on the right track.