Frisco ISD ‘unable to move forward’ with virtual school option | Frisco Company

Frisco ISD will not offer a permanent, full-time virtual school platform next year, the district announced Tuesday, returning to plans it shared in April for such a program.

Superintendent Mike Waldrip sent a letter to families in the district on Tuesday announcing that the district was “unable to move forward” with the option for the upcoming school year.

“While the vast majority of our students were already planning to take classes on campus, we know this news will be a disappointment for the families of the nearly 1,000 students who were planning to take advantage of the virtual school,” Waldrip said. . “Expanding opportunities for students through online and blended learning was a priority for Frisco ISD before the pandemic and will continue to be a priority for the district in the future. As we have seen over the past year, online learning provides students with additional choice and flexibility and is preferred by some for a variety of reasons.

In late April, the district announced that, pending state legislation, the district would introduce a virtual school as its last “school of choice” beginning in the fall.

“The permanent full-time virtual school is planned to serve students in grades 3 through 12,” Waldrip said in an April letter to the community. “Students who have thrived with virtual learning will continue to succeed with this new school, and we hope it provides the flexibility that many families are looking for as we move forward.”

At the time, Director of Studies Wes Cunningham said in a statement that Frisco ISD was encouraged by several bills in the legislative process.

“While we may not know the final details of a new online learning law for several weeks, we believe it is in the best interests of our students and families to begin preparations. formal for a virtual school at that time,” Cunningham said. “In order to ensure the new school is ready to welcome students in the fall, it is extremely important that the district has a good understanding of the number of students who will attend the virtual school for planning and planning purposes. ‘hiring.”

According to a district press release, the online schooling program introduced in the fall would have been different from the Virtual Academy option students had during the 2020-21 school year. Students who opted into virtual school would have committed to the option for the entire school year, the district said, and those students would take all of their classes online. That meant participating in extracurricular activities like athletics and fine arts would not have been an option for full-time virtual school students, the district said.

May 31 marked the last day of the legislative session in Texas, effectively dissolving any hope of passing Bill 1468, which would have expanded online learning in Texas and provided full funding for school districts, during the session.

According to a Facebook post by the district’s government affairs department on June 1, the bill went through a conference committee, which completed its work the previous Saturday night 25 minutes before the deadline.

The senate approved a compromised version of the bill on the afternoon of May 30, the district department said, but the chamber was not expected to hear the bill until late at night.

“At approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday evening, prior to the consideration of the bill, the House adjourned because there was no longer a quorum,” the district department said on June 1. left the floor an hour before the deadline, they effectively ended the session by killing all bills that had not yet been approved, including HB 1468.”

Waldrip said in his Tuesday letter that school districts across the state have had to reevaluate their planned offerings.

“With no signs that the Texas Education Agency will act soon to grant districts a waiver, Frisco ISD has no choice but to discontinue planning for this option in the upcoming school year” , Waldrip said.

The district said all students would attend classes on campus beginning Aug. 12, the first day of school.

“Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigated through these times and the associated uncertainty,” Waldrip said.

Perry A. Thomasson