Plano ISD Academy High School FAQ

How do I know if my child is the right fit for the PISD Academy High School?

BUILDING

All exterior doors of the school will remain locked during the school day. Learners may enter through the doors by the bus lane before and after school only. In order to protect security of the learning environment, entrance to and exit from the building will occur through the main front doors that are equipped with electronic access control equipment. The front doors are on the northeast side of the building facing Alma Rd.

Visitors will enter the building through the main front doors and wear appropriate name badges.

Learners will have access to the Fab Lab and Health Center only when supervision is available.

CAFETERIA

We will participate in the Child Nutrition Breakfast and Lunch program that is available at other PISD schools. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for learners and will be run by the PISD FANS (Food and Nutritional Services) department. A microwave will be accessible and menus will be posted mid-August 2013. PayPAMS will be available, as well. Funds will automatically transfer from learners’ accounts to the new campus. Free and reduced applications will be available. Additionally, a store with flexible hours will be available for learners to purchase smaller snacks.

CLOSED CAMPUS

All Plano ISD students, grades K-10, are required to observe a closed campus policy during the school day. Learners in 11th and 12th grade at Plano ISD Academy High School will have the option to make the decision regarding off-campus lunch. Learners will have the opportunity to purchase breakfast and lunch on campus in the cafeteria.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Connections to the community may include assistance in the development, facilitation, and evaluation of projects/problems; opportunities for service learning; job shadowing; mentorships; and internships.

Additionally, there will be an active presence of corporate partners throughout the building. Their dedication to Academy High School will be exemplified through a living model of learning by regular interactions with learners and staff.

COURSE OFFERINGS

The course names below represent the credits that learners will complete (or make substantial progress toward completion) during their 9th and 10th grade years at Plano ISD Academy High School:

English I, English II, World Geography, World History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Art I (Art and Media Communications), Art II (Electronic Media), Business Information Management, Communication Applications, Debate, Digital Design and Media Production, Foundations of Personal Fitness, Engineering Design and Presentation, Engineering Design and Problem Solving, Health, and Humanities (elective credit only).

There will not be a formal athletics or fine arts program. Learners will have the opportunity to experience these activities in a different format not outlined in a set course. These experiences might include incorporation of interest in a project or through extracurricular clubs. PE/Health credits will be encompassed within school-wide projects in a Wellness and Community Involvement program

The following language options will be available for learners:
Spanish I/French I/Latin I; Spanish II/French II/Latin II, Spanish III/Latin III, and French III

Other requirements over the four year period:
Community Service Hours, Job Shadow, Internship

Learning experiences will span over a variety of combinations of content areas and learners will have access to other resources to supplement their learning, such as online resources and blended learning opportunities.


CULTURE

At Plano ISD Academy High School, students will be called learners. Teachers will be regarded as facilitators.

Learners and facilitators will have exceptional ownership of the learning experience and their school environment. Working on projects and in teams, learners are accountable to their peers and demonstrate a level of responsibility similar to what they would experience in a professional work environment. Instructional goals and experiences will set the structure for a learner’s day, rather than a defined bell schedule. Learners will have places to report to for learning, but no bells will direct them there. Facilitators will work individually and in interdisciplinary teams within flexible blocks of time to facilitate instruction for groups of learners.

Learners will be connected and self-directed collaborators. The school building promotes collaboration and individual accountability in the design of flexible learning spaces.

Learners will become active participators in the school community. They will contribute to the creation of norms and traditions at the school. They will also participate in the development of a structure that addresses norm violations. There will be exceptional ownership of the learning experience and the school environment by learners and staff.

DRESS CODE

The dress code at Plano ISD Academy High School will reflect similar standards outlined in Plano ISD Student/Parent Policy Guide. There will be days when learners’ attire reflects the professional environment that will be fostered in the school. These days will be provided to learners in advance.

DISCIPLINE

Plano ISD’s Student Code of Conduct outlines offenses that are subject to disciplinary action in one of three categories: campus discipline management, discipline alternative education placement, and expulsion. The code of conduct can be found at the following link: http://pisd.edu/students/code.of.conduct/index.shtml

Learners will help set the campus structure to address offenses that fall under campus discipline management.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Learners and facilitators will have opportunities to develop a variety of clubs and activities that reflect learner interests. Learners will be notified of the process to start a club during the first week of school.

Since Plano ISD Academy High School is the home campus for learners, they will not be able to go to other campuses to participate in extracurricular activities.

Learners will have the opportunity to earn patches on a letterman jacket. Learners will assist in the identification of areas, as well as in the creation of a structure to earn the jacket.

GRADING

The grading system designed at Plano ISD Academy High School will encourage and support academic and personal inquiry, innovation, creativity, trial/error, risk-taking, collaboration, teamwork, timely critical feedback, and academic understanding and excellence. There will be a four-part grading structure: scores, digital portfolio, matrix focused on content related outcomes and matrix focused on critical skill learning outcomes. Critical skills will provide learners with feedback regarding 21st century skills. Through this process, learners and parents will have more detailed and accurate information on strengths and areas for growth.

There will be no leveled courses available at the Academy. Beyond the top 10% required by state law, learners will not be ranked. All Academy learning experiences will receive grade points, but none will receive weighted grade points. There will be a uniform GPA. Learners will receive honor and distinction in relevant skills, such as teamwork, initiative, leadership, service, etc.

The school will operate on a nine-week grading period. Work outside of the school day will occur as learners complete tasks towards solving a problem, or finishing a project. Learners will manage as many as four projects at one time. Assessments will be given over content in a variety of settings. Learners will take End-of-Course-Exams at the completion of a course.

Training will be provided for Canvas, the new learning management software system, to learners and parents at the beginning of the school year.

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

All learners will fulfill Texas graduation requirements and graduate on either the recommended or distinguished graduation plan.

Learners graduating on the recommended plan will need two credits of a foreign language. Learners graduating on the distinguished plan will need at least three credits of a foreign language. Contact Mrs. Pam Conner, Counselor, with any communication regarding credit selection for foreign language.

LEARNERS

We currently have 260 students who will represent the incoming 9th and 10th grades. The male/female ratio is 61%:39% respectively.

LOCATION OF SCHOOL

The campus is centrally located at 1701 Alma Drive, Plano, TX 75075.

MASCOT

Plano ISD Academy High School is home of the Titans. There is an academic logo, signified by a shield with three gears on it and a flame on top. The school mascot combines the imagery of a gear and warrior. The gear represents connections and collaboration, and the warrior’s helmet represents the passion, strength, and resilience that Academy Titans possess.

PARENT AND LEARNER RESPONSIBILITIES

Learners and parents commit to working with Academy Staff and partners to develop the habits of our “Profile of a Graduate.”

A student handbook containing expectations and guidelines specific to the campus (such as parking, attendance, make-up work, etc.) will be provided at the beginning of the school year.

PROJECTS

Projects are consistent within each grade level. (Ex: all 9th grade learners are working within the same project) The driving question within each project is broad enough that the final product can vary greatly among groups. Each project has different constraints put upon it; the facilitators have strived to create as much learner voice and choice as possible. Learning outcomes for the projects have been determined. Learners will have the responsibility of gathering the evidence to demonstrate understanding of those outcomes.

Learners will move within the day within similar groups for the duration of a project. The learner to facilitator ratio is 30:1. Groups will change by project.

SCHOOL HOURS

School hours will be 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Learners will be able to enter the building as early as 8:30 a.m. and remain inside the building until 5:00 p.m. These times can be flexible if supervision is available outside of this time frame. This will be communicated to learners in advance.

SECURITY

Plano ISD Academy High School is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for learners, staff and visitors. In an effort to accomplish this goal the district provides a comprehensive security program that is consistent across schools. A few of the security measures that will be implemented on campus will be: CCTV camera systems to monitor the interior and exterior of the building; access control system; RAPTOR electronic visitor management system; and criminal history background checks for all consistent volunteers and mentors.

TECHNOLOGY

Each learner will be provided with a technology device for maintaining work and school use. With open access to resources, learners become self-directed and responsible seeking knowledge on their own. High expectations for appropriate use of technology will be provided and maintained. Learners may bring their own personal device to school.

Learners will receive a Google Chromebook provided by the school. There is no operating system on the Chromebook; the campus will move towards cloud based creation and storage. Learners will be able to access Plano ISD remote desktop, giving them access to Microsoft Office and other software packages.

There will be standalone computers on campus with higher processing units and learners will have access to other devices on campus that fit the needs of various projects.

To facilitate the digital learning environment, there will be greater access to resources online, as well more powerful Wi-Fi connections.

TRANSFER GUIDELINES

Upon acceptance to Plano ISD Academy High School, families make a commitment to graduate from the Academy. However, if a transfer to the zoned campus is needed for the learner, the commitment to complete the school year is mandatory. There will not be an opportunity to transfer in the middle of the school year. The learner will present before a board of administrators and facilitators why a change in learning environment is needed. Parent participation in the process is required. This board will approve or deny the request.

If a change in placement is desired before July 1, 2013, please contact Mrs. Conner, counselor, at pam.conner@pisd.edu

Schools will facilitate the transfer of all records to Plano ISD Academy High School.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation will be provided to Plano ISD Academy High School. A model similar to summer school bus routes will be created that picks up/drops off learners at their zoned campus (either middle school or high school).

Families submitted their preferences on locations for learners to be picked up from and dropped off at the end of the day. Those requests will be honored. Others specific information regarding routes will be available August 2013.

WIKI

A wiki is a website that can be viewed and modified by a user. Wikis enable communities to write documents collaboratively. A wiki is not a one-time visited site; instead, users are engaged in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the website. It allows for evolving interactions.