Lovejoy Independent School District Reaches Century Mark
Chad Collins, Lovejoy ISD School Board President, provided facts regarding Lovejoy ISD’s history. Lovejoy Commons School System opened their doors in 1917. The site of the first school within the system was known as the Red School House and is used today as an administration building. The namesake, J.L. Lovejoy, was a strong advocate of schools and proving this point, she donated a large amount of books and $1,000 to start the school.
While walking the property of the Red School House, one might notice a penny in the sidewalk. Collins provided the story behind the permanently affixed penny: During the early 1960’s, Estelle Spurgin, Lovejoy principal and teacher, found two boys fighting over a penny. She gathered the entire school, along with the sparring boys, onto the porch of the school. She had the boys apologize to each other. When the school received its concrete sidewalk, she affixed the penny there as a reminder that the students of Lovejoy are expected to follow the Golden Rule and treat each other with respect.
Collins informed that district boundaries were formed based on farming homesteads. He said that the district lines, in some cases, cut through neighborhoods. Cities which currently have students attending Lovejoy ISD include Fairview, Lucas, Allen, Seis Lagos (Wylie) and McKinney.
There were ten students and one teacher when Lovejoy Commons School System began. In the 50’s, the numbers increased to approximately thirty-five students and three teachers. In the early 80’s, there were 150 students in the elementary school. In the 90’s, the numbers really began to increase. Currently there are 4,400 students in the district. Collins said that when the district is maxed out there will be 5,700 students. 2030 is the expected year for the school to reach capacity level.
Collins began attending Lovejoy ISD in kindergarten at the Red School House in 1979. He recalls some classmates riding up to school on their horses. Some of his fondest memories of attending school in LISD are attending the annual Halloween carnival because it was a community wide event, going to camp Goddard as a sixth grader and his exceptional teachers. He now has two children who attend school in LISD.
In 2007-08, the Red School House was remodeled to become the administration building. A portion of the original brick used when it was built in 1917 remains. Within that brick, a time capsule is encased with directions to open in 2117. In 1983, the building was established as a Texas Historic Site.
In 2003, Lovejoy ISD voted to separate from Allen ISD. Until this time, Lovejoy ISD accommodated kindergarteners through ninth graders. Tenth graders through twelfth graders attended, and graduated from, Allen High School. In 2010, Lovejoy ISD had its first graduating class. That year students were given the option to graduate from Allen HS or Lovejoy HS.
Lovejoy ISD currently consists of three elementary schools, one intermediate school, one middle school and one high school. Collins said that there are not any plans for future school development. Lovejoy ISD owns a piece of property on McDermott at the Lucas/Allen border which he foresees as being used for a bus barn, trade program or other use.
In 1917, the families who attended Lovejoy were farmers. In the 80’s and 90’s the demographics changed in that most of the residents were college educated professionals. The community was made up of people who didn’t want to live in the city and wanted a school district that wasn’t too big. A school district where there were great academics, strong fine arts and athletics, a really high standard of excellence and where the social and academic potential of each student would be matched.
Today Lovejoy ISD is the only school district in Texas that solely teaches a pre-AP (Advanced Placement)/AP curriculum. They offer an eight period day so that students can double-block a course if that course is difficult for them or they have the flexibility to take an extra extra-curricular class. This school year there are 100 students who attend Lovejoy ISD via the tuition based program. Annual tuition to attend LISD elementary is $9,000 and middle school/high school tuition is $11,000 per student.
When Collins looks to the future of Lovejoy ISD, he is excited to see how they will use cutting edge technology and innovative teaching to help each child reach their maximum potential. He looks forward to seeing more virtual classrooms, more trade programs, new STEM programs and a new engineer wing at the high school.
Summarizing Collins said, “There is a lot of pride and community support within the ISD. School is the focal point of the community, particularly since we have one high school. The name Lovejoy is associated with quality.”