Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Has McKinney Boyd’s growth affected other McKinney high schools?
In the nearly two years the school has grown to become the largest of the three high schools in terms of total student population.
MCKINNEY A subject often talked about among the parents of McKinney ISD high school students is the impact of McKinney Boyd. The newest of the three MISD high schools opened in 2006 to much applause and an even greater number of students. In the nearly two years the school has been in operation it has grown to become the largest of the three high schools in terms of total student population.
How big is Boyd? According to the numbers MISD turned in to the University Interscholastic League for athletic alignment on Oct. 26 Boyd has 2,275 students. Compare this to McKinney High's 1,799 students and McKinney North's 1,541 students and the difference is clear: there is a reason why the newest school in town was the only one of the three to be classified as a 5A school.
But what does all this mean in practical terms? That question is at the root of the "Boyd Impact." Does it mean the school has more resources afforded it by the school district ? It does not. Does it mean that the school is on equal footing with MHS and North? Maybe, maybe not.
While all schools are treated equally by MISD, Boyd's sheer advantage in numbers could give it an advantage in terms of parent participation and community volunteers. Many of the students, and all of the upperclassmen, came from MHS and North, so it would follow that many of these parents transfered the time and support they were giving to their old schools to Boyd. Does that hypothesis hold water?
For the sake of discussion, McKinneyNews.net talked to parent representatives from each of the three schools in attempt to determine whether there is a palpable difference in those areas.
Boyd PTO President Joellyn Smith was the perfect person to begin the discussion with. Aside from her position at Boyd, Smith has also been involved at North when she had a child in attendance at that school, a fact which gives her unique insight into the situation.
Smith said that, while the difference isn't great, she has noticed slightly increased participation in the PTO at Boyd.
"Our volunteers are wonderful, I think it's been more support [at Boyd]," Smith said. "The number of parents participating is between 300-350 this year. But I think there are a lot more people volunteering than those who are members [of the PTO]."
What about the effect on the numbers for the other schools then? Has there been a drop-off since Boyd opened its doors?
Beth Olson, Parent Teacher Student Organization President, said no.
"Even though Boyd has a huge number of families, it's still a relatively small number of parents who are getting involved," she said. "The participation is not all that different [now]."
Karen Taylor, the McKinney High Athletic Booster Club Co-President, said her school has felt the impact.
"I think it's fair to say McKinney High was greatly affected by the opening of Boyd," Taylor said. "If you look at the numbers alone there is no disputing that there are fewer people to perform volunteer roles - whether that role is serving on a booster club or working the school store."
It's interesting to note that, although North has 258 fewer students, it seems to have suffered less on the parent participation front than has MHS. But Olson noted that despite the relatively consistent numbers at North, there is a difference between the schools.
"The participation may not be all that different, but when you have a small school like North, you do tend to lose that sense of community volunteer spirit," she said.
Parent participation was also a concern with Smith.
"Let me just say that our volunteers are wonderful. But, it's still hard with the parents sometimes to get them involved. Last year was a struggle, everybody was getting used to something new."
One thing that is clear is that McKinney High has suffered the most with the growth of McKinney, and not just in terms of parent participation. With the construction of North seven years ago and Boyd two years ago, upgrades have been slow to come to MHS. The school has the oldest facilities and it is noticeable. To take a tour through the new gym at Boyd or the indoor athletic facility at North and then go to MHS is to witness firsthand the effects of school expansion on an original institution.
Taylor stated her belief that the students have noticed a difference.
"There is no doubt that the building of the new high school has left those students still at McKinney High feeling like all of the district's (and media) attention and funding has gone to building an opulent new campus," wrote Taylor in an e-mail to McKinneyNews.net. "But in the end, I feel the prevailing emotion from the students is less about resentment and more about a newfound feeling of pride in being THE McKinney High School."
With all the money spent on the newer schools (Boyd's indoor athletic facility is under construction) is their help on the way for MHS? According to Taylor, the cavalry could be coming.
"After a conversation with [new principal] Stewart Harrington, he informed me that the district is taking steps to work on the needs of McKinney High," she said. "This summer, MHS will have several million dollars in 'revamping' done. This project is slated to address such things as the student parking lot, updates to the dome, and the inside entry at McKinney High, just to name a few [things]."
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