The first articles, concerning zoning ordinances, revealed to me that Frisco’s small school size is simply a choice of what is best for students. Small class sizes allow a less stressful and competitive environment in regards to class rank, and allow for a smaller teacher to student ratio. However, I would like to know how these numerous, smaller schools impact the city, or the district, negatively. It cannot be good for the budget- does building so many new schools annually drain more money than simply building slightly bigger schools would? What does this mean for taxpayers or property value for homes in close proximity to the schools? I also learned that neighborhoods are cut into sections (meaning divided amongst several different schools) only in areas where FISD schools are in close proximity to each other; if one is over capacity, a student may be zoned to another, even though it may not be the one closest in location to their home. Though this may not be the most convenient choice for each individual student, it is simply a matter of keeping the schools down to size. However, there are certain situations in which specific circumstances are made exceptions (ex. When Reedy High School was built, seniors at Frisco High School that would’ve been rezoned to Reedy were allowed to stay). My question is- how does the board decide in which situations to provide special accommodations? Additionally, the articles from the FISD website mentioned that curriculum across schools is the same, including consistent programs. How does Frisco ISD make decisions on which programs those are? For example, math classes in Frisco ISD utilize Carnegie Learning workbooks for the entire year, and teachers are required to teach 80 percent of their class out of the book. I am curious about how this is decided, and who makes the decisions.
The next article, concerning Frisco ISD’s extermination of finals, provided much needed insight as to the thought process behind taking away said exams. In the eyes of the district, standardized testing serves to evaluate students and provide the district with information on where students’ progress lies across various subjects. However, in my mind, finals serve a larger purpose than just providing the district with information; it is one of the most helpful college preparation tools that a student has. In acquiring quotes from the school board for my original work, I plan to raise this topic and hopefully hear their opinion on the subject. The district also feels that the STAAR test already takes too much instructional time away from the school year, and that requiring a final exam would be redundant. This holds some truth in it, but not every subject has a STAAR test associated with it. Administering a final exam in every subject would evaluate knowledge in every subject a student is enrolled in, as well as prepare students for the same experience they are guaranteed in college. While composing my article, I plan to take a closer look at both how much time is actually lost through STAAR testing, and how a lack of preparation for finals impacts Frisco students’ performance in college.