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Frisco ISD to Expand Learning Opportunities

Jan 11, 2018

Frisco ISD will expand academic programming over the next few school years, delivering on goals outlined during the 2015 strategic planning process.

New courses and programs will provide additional opportunities and options for students to distinguish themselves and prepare for the future.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to increase and enhance the learning experiences available to our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Mike Waldrip. “These programs provide additional avenues for student success, enhance college and career readiness and help meet the needs of our diverse population and community.”

The most-anticipated program leaders hope to bring to the District is International Baccalaureate (IB). IB’s mission is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

FISD is applying to offer the IB Diploma Programme at Frisco High School and the Primary Years Programme at Bright Elementary. Both campuses are centrally located in the District and have capacity to serve additional students. They will remain the home campuses for students who live in the Frisco High and Bright Elementary attendance zones, but would become “schools of choice” for students from across FISD who wish to take advantage of the IB programmes.

“There has been strong community interest over the years in bringing IB to Frisco ISD,” said Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Katie Kordel. “The program aligns with our District philosophy and provides a global perspective sought-after by many parents and universities.”

Current seventh graders, or students entering ninth grade in the 2019-20 school year, would be the first class eligible to take advantage of the IB Diploma Programme if FISD’s application is accepted.

FISD will begin implementing the IB transdisciplinary framework, which emphasizes inquiry-based instruction, critical thinking and communication, next school year at Bright Elementary. The campus will also begin offering Spanish instruction, since second language development is a component of the Primary Years Programme.

Bright will undergo a number of renovations and instructional changes to support the IB approach and the introduction of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch, a pre-career and technical education program focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which complements the IB learner profile.  

Campus enhancements include:

  • Increased technology ratio and resources, including one-to-one, take-home technology for students in grades 3-5
  • Smaller class sizes to support innovation and interdisciplinary studies
  • Additional professional staff to support inquiry-based instruction and enrichment
  • Teachers specifically selected from across FISD to teach in an innovative, interdisciplinary environment and supported with high levels of training
  • A redesigned library, with the addition of a makerspace
  • The creation of collaborative learning spaces, including flexible seating and furniture

“Bright students will be challenged to apply their learning to real-world current events, both at home and around the globe,” said Bright Elementary Principal Serita Dodson. “Students will have a variety of ways to demonstrate their learning.”

Frisco ISD will also introduce AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, with seventh graders at Hunt and Staley middle schools next school year. The District plans to expand the program to Frisco High School as the first group of participating students matriculate to high school.

The program includes an elective course designed to provide academic, social and emotional support to students as they take advanced coursework, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and Pre-AP courses.  

“AVID is designed for students who want to work hard and go to college,” said Dr. Angela Romney, area director for secondary instruction. “It teaches strategies for success in the classroom, such as study skills and note-taking, as well as provides assistance with post-secondary planning and admissions for students who may be the first in their family to go to college.”

In addition, Frisco ISD will pilot INCubatoredu at four high schools – Centennial, Frisco, Heritage and Lone Star – during the 2018-19 school year, with the potential to expand the program in the future.

INCubatoredu will provide curriculum, resources and training to support an already-existing entrepreneurship course offered at all FISD high schools for students in grades 10-12. It also provides a framework for increased business and community involvement in the course, which deepens students’ learning.

“It creates additional opportunities for students to connect with business and industry professionals who are passionate about what they do and want to share that knowledge with students,” said Clarence Williams, area director for secondary instruction. “Students also learn ‘soft skills’ that help make them future ready, such as public speaking, listening and working collaboratively.”  

Learn More

Stay tuned for more information about International Baccalaureate (IB) as FISD submits and learns the status of its applications.

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