District of Innovation February 28, 2017

District of Innovation

A District of Innovation is a concept passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, effective immediately, that gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan, as set forth in the Texas Education Code chapter 12A.

DOI Process

The process is initiated by either:

  1. a resolution of the board of trustees;or
  2. a petition signed by a majority of the members of the district-level advisory committee.

Public Hearing

  • Promptly after the resolution or petition, the board must hold a public hearing to consider whether the district should develop an innovation plan.
  • At the conclusion of the hearing or soon thereafter, the board may: decline to pursue the designation as a District of Innovation; or appoint a committee to develop a plan.

DOI Timeline

  • December: Discussed the concept of a District of Innovation
  • January: The Board of Trustees signed a resolution to consider a designation as a district of innovation
  • February: Held a public hearing on becoming a District of Innovation, and the Board of Trustees approved to the administration to pursue a designation as a District of Innovation. The board also authorized the administration to appoint a committee.

The Plan must:

  • provide for a comprehensive educational program for the district which may include innovations in curriculum, instructional methods, community and parent involvement, campus governance, modifications to the school day or year, local accountability, and other innovations prescribed by the board; and
  • identify the Texas Education Code provisions from which the District of Innovation should be exempted, within the parameters described above.
  • the final plan must be posted on the district website for 30 days
  • the commissioner of education must be notified
  • the DEIC must have a public meeting to consider the final plan and approve the plan by a majority vote
  • the board of trustee must approve the final plan

The DOI plan will be a legally binding document that may have a term of up to five years.

Areas to consider for the DOI Plan
School Start Date
  • Better balanced semesters
  • Greater flexibility in calendar development
Contract rights (Probationary Years)
  • specifically second probationary year for teachers hired under 5 of 8 rule
  • will have the flexibility of hiring a probationary teacher for a second year to provide for more growth and coaching when the teacher is hired under the 5 of 8 rule.
Certification requirements
  • flexibility in hiring “hard to fill” positions
  • flexibility to hire experts in their field even if they don’t yet have a teaching certificate
  • flexibility to hire those with industry expertise (e.g. HB 5 courses)
  • flexibility to hire credentialed community college instructors or university professors in specific content area
Teacher Appraisal System
  • flexibility to develop a local evaluation system
Any additional avenues or statutes?

Credits:

Created with images by Christoph - "bald eagles bald eagle bird of prey" • artsvector - "close up glowing light" • Unsplash - "day planner calendar organizer" • dassel - "art glow eindhoven" • Wokandapix - "blueprint ruler architecture" • Foto-Rabe - "clock time time of" • Freeimages9 - "chalk color red" • sinclair.sharon28 - "Certificate Program" • qimono - "measurement millimeter centimeter" • wilhei - "puzzle match fit"

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