Lewisville ISD students request changes in online course offerings for 2020-21 school year

Thirty students signed their names at the bottom of a July 21 letter to Lewisville ISD administrators, school board members, leadership and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath. (Tobi Carter/Community Impact Newspaper)
Thirty students signed their names at the bottom of a July 21 letter to Lewisville ISD administrators, school board members, leadership and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath. (Tobi Carter/Community Impact Newspaper)

Thirty students signed their names at the bottom of a July 21 letter to Lewisville ISD administrators, school board members, leadership and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath. (Tobi Carter/Community Impact Newspaper)

When rising junior Samanta Lopez looked for the courses she had planned to take this school year on Lewisville ISD’s online course offerings July 17, she was shocked to find none of them on the list.

“I had already planned both of [my] last years of high school,” Lopez said. “It’s going to be really problematic to switch it so last minute.”

Lopez and her friends Anushka Chakravarthi and Maya Thakur, also rising juniors at Flower Mound High School, spoke with roughly 50 students who also were either missing a course or had another issue with the online learning option.

Thirty of those students signed their names at the bottom of a July 21 letter to LISD administrators, school board members, leadership and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath.

The letter highlighted a number of Advanced Placement courses that did not make it to the district’s online curriculum list, as well as courses such as American Sign Language and computer science, and asked the district to reconsider not offering them online.



The district is currently offering all pre-AP courses, 13 AP courses and a number of electives online in the 2020-21 school year. Those who would like to take courses not offered online in middle and high schools have the option of taking some elective courses in person at their home campus.

Having limitations on courses available online forces students to make a decision between health and future success, the letter said.

"It goes against educational equality ... not having that same curriculum and opportunities as our peers that are choosing to go full time in person,” Lopez said. “We need that right."

The district shared a statement from Superintendent Kevin Rogers after receiving the letter, stating he and the district understand and value the perspectives shared, but that scheduling courses for roughly 4,000 high school students is a complex process.

“Even in a typical school year, students have to make choices about what fits in their schedule,” Rogers said. “In the midst of a global pandemic, when we are running two parallel school districts simultaneously to try and meet the needs of 52,000 students, the choices are more difficult for everyone.”

Lopez is considering alternative learning options, which could cost close to $2,000, she said, but plans to respond to the district’s commitment form by the initial deadline of July 22 as an online student.

Chakravarthi expects to continue her studies with LISD regardless of course offerings, she said, but she would feel the need to supplement her education with outside resources for classes not being offered online.

“I feel like the role of school is to be provided these courses,” Chakravarthi said. “I shouldn't have to seek this out on my own.”

The three students also created a Change.org petition over the weekend and have received more than 800 signatures as of July 21. A newly created Instagram platform dedicated to the issue has just under 200 followers.

Lopez, Chakravarthi and Thakur plan to continue the dialogue by gathering more supporters. The group would also like the opportunity to discuss their thoughts with the school board virtually, they said.

“There is no ideal solution,” Thakur said. “But since we have to make do with what we have, I think it's important that the school district considers how best to maximize... quality education for everyone, not just the people who are attending in person.”

Correction: A previous photo caption listed an incorrect date for when the student letter was sent.

By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano and Richardson, including Plano City Council and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


MOST RECENT

Scott Palmer administers a COVID-19 vaccine shot to a Roanoke police officer. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Vaccination hubs open in Plano, McKinney Fire Dept. and more DFW-area news

Read the top stories from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Aspire Nutrition opened Dec. 9 in Highland Village. (Community Impact staff)
Aspire Nutrition now operating in Highland Village

The business serves healthy shakes, energizing teas and coffees, and other products for pre- and post-workout routines.

Scott Palmer administers a COVID-19 vaccine shot to a Roanoke police officer. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
2 vaccination hubs to open in Plano; BigShots Golf coming to Fort Worth and more DFW news

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

In Denton County, the number of beds occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients remained near 200 after trending down from its recent peak. (Community Impact staff)
Tracking COVID-19: Hospitalized population, still high, shows early sign of decline in Denton County

Nearly 200 patients with COVID-19 were being treated in Denton County hospitals as of Jan. 20, but that number was starting to trend downward for the first time in months.

Grizzly Burger House's menu includes the Hawaiian cheeseburger and more. (Courtesy Grizzly Burger House)
Grizzly Burger opens in Richardson and more DFW-area news

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

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

Philly Pretzel Factory opened its doors in December in Flower Mound. (Courtesy Philly Pretzel Factory)
Philly Pretzel Factory opens doors in Flower Mound

The store serves pretzels, pretzel dogs, philly cheesesteaks and an assortment of other related food items.

Chicken-fried steak and eggs ($11.99) are served with hash browns and Texas toast. (Courtesy The Cottage)
The Cottage eatery opens in Roanoke and more DFW-area news

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

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.

Three Highland Village City Council races will be on the ballot in May. The filing period ends Feb. 12. (Ally Crutcher/Community Impact Newspaper)
Who's filed to run: Highland Village City Council races on the ballot in May

Voters in May will decide races for three seats on the Highland Village City Council.

Two Lewisville ISD trustee spots will be on the ballot for the May elections. The deadline to file is Feb. 12. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Who's filed to run: 2 spots on Lewisville ISD board of trustees

The candidate filing period is open through Feb. 12 for Places 1 and 2 on the Lewisville ISD board of trustees.

The city of Lewisville's population grew by more than 7% from 2014-19. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Who's filed to run: Lewisville City Council seats up for grabs as May elections approach

Two Lewisville City Council races—including one for the mayor's seat—will be on the ballot as the city prepares for its next round of municipal elections in May.