On Virginia Parkway, just west of 75, you will find a new edition to the McKinney community. Students ranging from kindergarten to ninth grade have come to Imagine School of North Texas to, well, use their imagination. They have taken their own initiatives partnered with information on important causes, and started trying to make a difference.
For Amber Johri, school is not just a place to learn and have fun but an opportunity to make a difference. At 12 years old she is the president of Imagine International Recycling Committee.
"This committee is about helping change the world one step or one recyclable at a time, every little effort counts from our volunteers to our sponsors," Johri said.
Johri is one of many participating in Imagine’s action cycle: Choose-Act-Reflect. The IB model is Because you know this, now what? The “now what” is the action.
Margaret Davis, Regional Curriculum Consultant, says many students at Imaging also take action through their involvement with LIMBS International. After watching a video about LIMBS, an organization that works to provide high functioning, low-cost artificial limbs throughout developing countries, the children were compelled to raise money for their cause. Jars are filled with change for throughout the hallways of school.
Imagine is a Texas charter public school that serves seven school districts including McKinney, Allen and Frisco. Students are enrolled through a lottery process.
During the enrollment process that begins Nov. 1 of each year, and ends on the last day of February, students from the seven school districts fill out an application and are entered into the lottery.
Davis says that the Imagine School of North Texas is unique to other public schools for many reasons.
“The Imagine Company is the largest school company in the United States but this is the first in Texas,” Davis said. “The other thing that makes us different is that we are a college prep program.”
Imagine Schools are part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. There are exceptional benefits for students who graduate from Imagine.
“By law in Texas, if a student earns their IB diploma they must be awarded a minimum of 24 hours credit at any state university in Texas,” Davis said. “There is a legal requirement for IB because universities know there of the exceptional quality control."
McKinney’s Imagine school is the result of six years of hard work by seven families in North Texas. Board President Anne Carrell said that she was inspired to help bring the Imagine School to McKinney when she met Julia Brady.
“Julia Brady was a McKinney resident with two kids who attended an IB school growing up and she really loved the International Baccalaureate program,” Carrell said. “We were just really interested in that program for our kids; the advanced academics and academic rigor. It grew from there.”
Davis says the ultimate goal of the Imagine School is to prepare students to attend the best university. It is her hope that by participating in classes -- like Spanish -- starting in kindergarten that students will receive a well rounded education.
It’s not just about what the students will gain from the classroom.
“We have programs available after school which extend student learning. For example, all of our Upper School students have music as a component of the school day. We offer after school programs which include orchestra, guitar and ensemble,” Davis said.
Imagine plans for growth with phase 2 of the building scheduled to be built in 2015. Each year another grade is added as the current ninth graders will be the first graduating class of the Imagine School of North Texas.
With many “Actions” in progress, staff and students are excited to see what the future holds for this new school.
For more about the school, visit them online at imaginenorthtexas.org.
ACTIONS: Imagine Students follow the Action Cycle, Choose-React-Reflect.
Recycling Initiative: Student volunteers collect milk cartons, water bottles and paper.
Raising Money for Limbs International: Purchase sustainable and affordable artificial limbs for children in third world countries.
Tutoring: Older Imagine students went to a school to tutor children in math.