The District is offering a new online program at all high schools in 2019-20 to provide students with additional choice and flexibility after a successful pilot launch in the 2018-19 school year. Through rigorous online courses and a personalized approach, Frisco ISD students can actively direct their own learning to acquire high school credit through the RAIL program.
RAIL, which stands for Reaching All Innovative Learners, is the District’s new student-centered online program that aligns with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), as well as District curriculum sequencing. The program encourages interactive learning while allowing driven students to learn at their own pace, on their own time and on a personalized learning path.
In the 2018-19 school year, 555 credits were awarded across the District to students via the RAIL pilot program. While the RAIL pilot mostly centered on recovering credits, the 2019-20 school year brings a wealth of additional opportunities by also allowing students to take online courses for advancement.
Independence High School RAIL teachers, students and administrators recently celebrated a major milestone of 100 credits awarded during the 2018-19 school year.
Over pizza, hot wings and soda, students listened to music as they recounted their journey with the RAIL program, also called the Knight Academy, at Independence High School.
“My last school’s coursework didn’t transfer over so I had to do the second semester of English again,” said Taylor Skyrme, a junior at Independence. “I was able to complete five credits in the fall semester, which opened up my availability to take classes I wanted to do in the second semester.”
Many students commented on the difference that Independence RAIL teacher Nick Stokes made on their lives.
“These students are the ones who have been knocking these credits out in the Knight Academy,” Stokes said. “Students and their hard work should be celebrated. They have achieved over 120 credits as a campus and have taken control of their learning.”
A variety of students have found success with the program. Students who had previously dropped out, students who are in and out of homelessness and students who are recovering from personal tragedies were among those who earned the necessary credits to graduate.
“We had a young lady who was an ESL student fluent in Mandarin but struggled in conventional classes. This year we got her in the Knight Academy and she was able to automatically translate everything from English to Mandarin, so she could learn the content and not have to worry about the language barrier,” Stokes said. “As she progressed through each course she used the translator less and less. By the end of the year, she chose to keep the language set to English, and had made up all of her courses to be on time to graduate with her peers.”
Independence Principal Alan Waligura has seen the benefits of RAIL firsthand.
“It’s successful because of the teachers who care so much for the kids and are willing to help them out,” Waligura said. “We want to support these students right on campus and we needed a proactive way to help the kids. Everyone has different needs, and it is truly meeting the needs of every student.”
Beginning in the fall of 2019, Frisco ISD will offer the online courses for original credit and credit recovery through the Frisco RAIL on all high school campuses.
“In Frisco ISD, learning can happen anytime, anywhere and we are providing that opportunity for our students,” said Tiffany Carey, coordinator of innovative learning. “This is so much more than just virtual learning. This program is supported by Frisco ISD teachers on the campus and truly personalizes the child’s learning through a blended model of online learning mixed with actual Frisco ISD teachers.”
To learn more about the new RAIL opportunity, click here or reach out to Tiffany Carey, director of innovative learning.