Online learning after COVID-19 among Frisco ISD's top priorities for legislative session

One of Frisco ISD's top legislative priorities this upcoming session is the expansion of virtual learning options—even after the pandemic ends. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
One of Frisco ISD's top legislative priorities this upcoming session is the expansion of virtual learning options—even after the pandemic ends. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

One of Frisco ISD's top legislative priorities this upcoming session is the expansion of virtual learning options—even after the pandemic ends. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Some students are ready to return to the classroom and skip learning by Zoom; however, one of Frisco ISD’s top legislative priorities for 2021 is to expand online learning.

FISD Government Affairs Coordinator Megan DeWolfe said at a Dec. 3 special board meeting that the district was discussing online learning as a future offering even before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted in-person learning.

The district was eyeing Senate Bill 1455, which was proposed in the last Texas legislative session with the goal of expanding virtual learning options, but it did not pass.

FISD has an opportunity to benefit students who have unique life circumstances, DeWolfe said. These students may include elite athletes, students receiving inpatient and outpatient services, and students who simply prefer the flexibility of online learning and thrive in virtual settings.

Students who are physically absent for long periods of time have to unenroll, even if it is for a few weeks to visit family in another country or to train for elite sports, DeWolfe said.



“Why can’t we continue to service them [online] for the couple months that they’re gone?" she said. "We’re really going to make a kid unenroll for the three weeks that they leave?”

DeWolfe said FISD wants to have the opportunity to serve those students during that time period when they cannot be physically present.

While most schools across the state offer virtual learning due to social distancing and the threat of COVID-19, what a lot of people do not realize, DeWolfe said, is that this is made possible through state waivers.

“Much of what we’re doing servicing students through online learning is not allowed, and it’s not funded through current law,” DeWolfe said.

DeWolfe said writing a new state law may present some complications. One challenge is that some rural or smaller districts may not have the infrastructure to implement a full-blown virtual academy. This may create unequal levels of opportunity, she said.

“We’re talking a lot to small districts," DeWolfe said. "We’re not trying to steal students. We’re trying to figure out how [we can] just make this better for students across the state.”

She said she hopes there can be a new policy that benefits everyone.

“How can we approve this in code in a way that would improve education access for students at rural districts, at small districts, at large districts ... that won’t hurt or ... make schools compete against one another?” DeWolfe said.

Virtual learning is “probably not the best option for everyone under the sun,” she said, but that keeping this option open for FISD students could be a game-changer.



By Francesca D' Annunzio
Francesca D'Annunzio covers K-12 and higher education, development, planning and zoning, and transportation in Frisco and McKinney. She attended college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she reported for the Daily Texan and interned for the Austin Chronicle. When she's not reporting, she enjoys spending time outdoors and experimenting in the kitchen.


MOST RECENT

Jim's Pizza is relocating to Eldorado Parkway. (Community Impact staff)
Jim's Pizza relocates in McKinney; ice pop shop coming to Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The National Videogame Museum's educational programs focus on STEM values. (Courtesy National Videogame Museum)
National Videogame Museum marks 5 years in Frisco

The museum features video game memorabilia collected over three decades.

See how COVID-19 impacted Williamson County in March. (Community Impact staff)
Visit Frisco leverages GPS data to boost tourism

The most recent set of data covers January 2019 to November 2020. The goal was to see how visitors might have changed from past studies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The red portion of the map identifies Collin County's corridor study area for new alignments for an expansion of FM 546. (Courtesy Collin County)
Collin County studies FM 546 in McKinney; 29 trees transplanted in Frisco and more top DFW-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Orange Cranberry is one of the flavors offered at The Pop Parlour. (Courtesy The Pop Parlour)
Florida-based Pop Parlour to bring ice pops to Frisco

The shop will have fruity and creamy popsicles along with specialty drinks, such as matcha lemonade.

Chick-fil-A's new location in the Spanish Village Shopping Center is now open for drive-thru and mobile curbside service. (Courtesy Chick-fil-A)
Chick-fil-A opens in Richardson; Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles moves to Grapevine and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

iSaveLives CPR has relocated in Frisco. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
iSaveLives CPR relocates in east Frisco to Centennial Plaza

iSaveLives CPR also offers advanced certifications, such as basic life support, advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support.

Frisco City Council listens to details about the proposed mixed-use project called The Link. (Screenshot courtesy city of Frisco)
Frisco City Council tables zoning request for potential $1 billion mixed-use project near PGA

Frisco City Council tabled a proposed zoning change on nearly 240 acres that could potentially develop into a $1 billion mixed-use project near the PGA.

trees
29 roadside trees to be transplanted to parks in Frisco

More than two dozen trees will transplanted in Frisco to make way for road construction.

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Denton County. (Community Impact staff)
Denton County surpasses 250,000 vaccine doses

The percentage of COVID-19 patients compared to capacity in Denton County hospitals is currently a “tick higher” than other North Texas counties, but the overall picture is looking better, according to health officials.

The Plano-McKinney Music & Arts Festival will include a classic car show. (Courtesy Outlaw Nation)
McKinney music, arts festival set for mid-April; Raising Cane's opens in Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

According to the release, three STAAR tests were affected by the connectivity issues including fourth grade writing, seventh grade writing and English I. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
TEA Student Assessment Division calls STAAR Online Testing Platform connectivity issues 'completely unacceptable'

According to the release, three STAAR tests were affected by the connectivity issues including fourth grade writing, seventh grade writing and English I.