Prior to the beginning of the major growth in FISD, a group of citizens worked to help develop a plan for the size of schools. FISD knew it could not remain a one-high school town, so in anticipation of multiple high schools, staff members wanted to determine what that would look like. The overriding concern was keeping high schools small so that students could have opportunities to participate and excel in activities and form meaningful relationships with each other and with the adults in the school.
Each community has to pick what works best for its citizens – in Allen they chose to have one high school; Plano chose to have high schools with grades 9 and 10 and senior high schools with grades 11 and 12.
In Frisco ISD, the configuration and size of school chosen was to serve grades 9-12 at a size to house between 1,500 and 1,800 students. Since that time, to provide as much stability as possible, existing high schools have been modified to accommodate up to 2,100 students. This keeps high schools small, allows for more growth prior to new schools opening and has provided additional capacity in the District equivalent to adding another high school. (Six high schools with 300 student additions serves 1,800 more students).
The group also agreed to build elementary schools to accommodate approximately 700 students and middle schools to serve between 800 and 1,000 students.
In fall 2017, the District engaged parents and citizens regarding the high school model to ensure it was still supported by the community. Eighty percent of the 4,100+ respondents to a community survey indicated they wanted FISD to continue the model of smaller high schools focused on student opportunity and said it factored into their decision to move to Frisco ISD. A financial analysis by the District showed the cost for operating more 5A schools is not significantly more than the cost of operating fewer 6A schools, about three to five percent more.
The District's Long-Range Planning Committee cited the following benefits of the student opportunity high school model:
- Student engagement and connectivity
- Academic and extracurricular opportunities
- Student health and well-being (whole child)
- District reputation/community expectations
- Consistency and uniformity in educational experience across the District
- Small graduating classes/less pressure on GPA and class rank
- Better model for “name and need”