North Texas

Frisco ISD Embraces Diversity

Nearly half of the district's student body are people of color

Frisco is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Families from all over the world are attracted to the area's high paying jobs, affordable housing and good schools.

Frisco ISD is just shy of 56,000 students and it's quickly becoming one of the most diverse in North Texas.

According to the district, enrollment grew by 2,700 students this year.

Enrollment figures indicate nearly half of Frisco ISD's student body are people of color. 24 percent are Asian, 14 percent are Hispanic, and 11 percent are African American.

Sixty-seven languages are spoken within the district.

"We recognize that Frisco is changing. We are growing and becoming more diverse as our population increases," said Frisco ISD human resources director Charis Hunt.

In order to keep up with the city's changing demographics, Frisco ISD has a diversity task force which lays the ground work for professional training.

The task force, which meets four times a year, also helps the district promote equity, embrace diversity and differences, and encourage active participation on the part of families and community.

"The task force is made up of our parents and community members including teachers and administrators," said Hunt.

To kick off our week dedicated to the Different Shades of Texas, we traveled around North Texas searching for people who speak different languages and who grew up in different parts of the world. We learned their stories, what connects them to Texas, and how to say, “Texas Connects Us” in their native language.

At Phillips Elementary School, principal Dana Solomon highlights the school's diversity through active participation at school assemblies.

"Our kids need to feel proud of their heritage and bring it to light for other kids because we can learn a lot from each other," said Solomon. "I think in the past we talked a lot about tolerance and acceptance. Now, we really need to celebrate diversity. We have to work with everyone. We have to work with everyone from every walk of life."

Solomon said she was inspired to highlight diversity at Phillips Elementary after she overhead a student's telephone conversation in Spanish.

"A student told me he was embarrassed of speaking another language. That really struck me that a child would be embarrassed of speaking another language, and in a way, embarrassed of his heritage," said Solomon. "The root of it came when I spoke to that student last year and he was ashamed of the second language that he speaks."

All Frisco ISD elementary schools now host assemblies geared to promoting diversity. The district said it's an opportunity for teachers to learn from their students.

Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

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