Middle school

An architectural rendering shows plans for Denton ISD’s ninth middle school, which will be presented during the Tuesday school board meeting.

A majority of Denton ISD students have expressed an interest in virtual learning for the coming school year ahead of Tuesday’s school board meeting.

According to information posted in the board’s agenda online, right around 62% of all enrolled students seem interested.

All parts of the district showed interest at levels between 64% and 67% except for Guyer High School and surrounding schools, which totaled just 49% interest in online learning.

The total number of registrations so far accounts for only 25,069 students — several thousand shy of enrollment numbers for the previous school year. Denton ISD previously asked parents to commit their students to either in-person or remote learning by this Wednesday, Aug. 12. However, all students are expected to learn remotely until in-person classes start Sept. 8.

Aug. 26 is the first scheduled day of classes for the district, but teachers have already headed back to campuses to prepare.

Board members are also likely to approve a waiver available through the Texas Education Agency allowing the district to offer high schoolers the chance to attend in-person classes on some days and online classes on others.

The waiver would allow students the option so long as they attend at least 40% of classes in-person. The district had not decided by Monday afternoon whether to offer the alternative model, but access to the opportunity would be needed in advance of its implementation.

“The decision to offer a hybrid schedule has not been made, however in the event we need to consider a hybrid schedule to accommodate social distancing guidelines in order to address student and staff safety, this waiver request provides the flexibility to do so,” according to an item included in the board’s Tuesday agenda.

The waiver request is included in the board’s consent agenda, which means members might not necessarily discuss it before passing it in a vote alongside various other items.

Board members are still forced to look ahead to years when classes can resume normally. That means building more schools for a fast-growing district like Denton ISD.

One of the first presentations they’re scheduled to receive Tuesday will give the public an early look at what the district’s ninth middle school might look like.

The two-story campus will be located between Noles and Fishtrap roads near Prosper in the district’s Braswell High School attendance zone.

Board members also likely will approve a contract with Pfluger Architects for the design of the district’s 25th elementary school. The elementary will be located within the Sandbrock Ranch development east of Krugerville, and it is planned as a redesign of Union Park Elementary School.

The contract set to be approved Tuesday includes an architect’s fee of $1.3 million for basic services.

A link to watch Tuesday’s board meeting remotely will likely go live on the district’s website shortly before it starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Those wishing to address the board must fill out a public comment form at www.dentonisd.org/trustees by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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