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District of Innovation Plan

 

New Diana ISD

Plan of Innovation

Effective May 8, 2017-May 8, 2022

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a District of Innovation?

The District of Innovation concept was passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842 and has been codified in the Texas Education Code Chapter 12a. A District of Innovation designation gives traditional school districts most of the flexibility currently available to Texas’ open-enrollment charter schools. It gives a district more local control and increases a District’s ability to decide what best suits the District’s needs. Under HB 1842, Districts may identify certain requirements imposed by the Texas Education Code “that inhibit the goals of the plan and from which the District should exempt on adoption of the plan.”

 

What are the benefits to New Diana ISD becoming a District of Innovation?

A District of Innovation will have the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools and exercise local control over certain decisions about education and governance that are more appropriate for the individual needs of the District. A District of Innovation is empowered to innovate and think differently based on the unique needs of the school, students, and staff.  Becoming a District of Innovation allows a district to customize appropriate plans district-wide, a grade level, or a single campus.

 

What are the proposed areas of innovation for New Diana ISD?

 

First Day of Instruction

Class Size in grades K-4

Teacher Certifications

Probationary Teacher Contracts

 

What areas are Districts of Innovation prohibited from seeking exemption?

A District of Innovation cannot seek exemption from state or federal requirements applicable to an open enrollment charter school; state requirements for curriculum or graduation; and academic and financial accountability. Additionally, a District of Innovation cannot be exempt from statutes, including but not limited to, election of board of trustees; powers and duties of school boards, superintendents, and principals; criminal history record checks and educator misconduct reporting; bilingual education; special education; prekindergarten; academic accountability including student assessment; open meetings, open records; financial accountability and related reporting; and nepotism.

 

What is the process for developing and approving New Diana ISD’s Innovation Plan?

On February 22, 2017 the New Diana ISD Board of Trustees passed a resolution to initiate the process of considering the designation of NDISD as a District of Innovation. The Board of Trustees also approved an innovation plan committee to explore and develop a local innovation plan. The Innovation plan committee will be comprised of key district stakeholders including, senior leadership, administration, staff, parents, board members, and community members.  The Innovation plan committee met on February and March to draft, review, and prepare a final proposed Innovation Plan, the Board of Trustees held a public hearing on March 7, 2017 to discuss the Innovation plan and hear public comment. The Innovation Plan will be posted on the District’s website on April 8, 2017 for 30 days. The Board of Trustees will vote to approve the plan on May 8, 2017.  If the final proposed innovation plan is approved by two-thirds of the membership of the Board of Trustees, the District will be designated as a District of Innovation under Chapter 12a of the Texas Education Code and will begin operation in accordance with the plan. Notification will be sent to the Commissioner of Education informing that NDISD has become a District of Innovation.

How long is the District of Innovation Plan effective?

The plan will be in effect for a term of five years from the date of adoption. The District of Innovation Plan may be amended, rescinded, or renewed only by a majority vote of the DOI Committee and the Board of Trustees in the same manner required for initial adoption.

 

Carl Key
Scott Farler
Melinda Benson
Melissa Ryan
Sharon Wager
Jenifer Politi
Joaquin Guerrero
Greg Pope
Gina Treadway
Teresa Beckham
Marla Coplin
Dana Yount
Alicia Barrett
Daren Duncan
Carla Coyle
Cindy Duckworth
Jeannie Erwin
Jackie Sharp
Todd Turner
Rachel Waid
Stephanie McDaniel
Josh Sims
Candice Wilkerson
Karen Holt
Superintendent
Curriculum and Instruction
Business
State/Fed Programs
Technology
HS Principal
MS Principal
Operations
Elementary Principal
Intermediate Principal
District Librarian
Elementary Counselor
HS Teacher
HS Teacher
MS Teacher
MS Teacher
Int. Teacher
Elem. Teacher
Parent
Parent
Community Business
Community Business
Community
Board Member

 


Timeline

 

Action

Responsibility

Date

Consideration of an innovative designation by adoption of a resolution

Board

2/13/2017

Vote to adopt a resolution to consider designation

Board

02/13/17

Approve committee to develop innovative plan

Board

02/13/17

Hold public hearing

Board

3/06/17

Innovation plan committee meeting

Committee

02/22/17

Innovation Plan committee meeting

Committee

03/08/17

Post proposed local innovation plan on district website

District

04/07/17

Commissioner notified of board intent to adopt local innovative plan

Board

04/07/17

Public Hearing  held by Innovative plan committee

Board

05/08/17

Board voted to adopt the local innovative plan

Board

05/08/17

 Commissioner notified of school board approval of innovative plan.  Board  05/10/2017

 



As a District of Innovation, New Diana ISD will seek to maximize local control over educational and governance decisions for students and staff. The District intends to continue to follow the Texas Education Code in all other areas. If amendments to this plan are considered at some point in the future, the District will reconvene the innovation plan committee to initiate the appropriate process, as outlined in Chapter 12a of the Texas Education Code.

 

FIRST DAY OF INSTRUCTION

(Texas Education Code § 25.0811)

 

Manner in which the statute inhibits the plan

Texas Education Code states that a District may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August, unless the District operates a year-round system. A District may not receive a waiver for this requirement. For many years this was the rule; however, Districts had the option of applying for a waiver to begin school earlier. The waiver process was eliminated several years ago. This requirement inhibits the District’s flexibility to develop a calendar that best meets the needs and desires of students, staff, Board of Trustees, and community members. It also inhibits the District from creating a calendar that better balances the instructional semesters.

 

Category of innovation

Modifications to the school year

The flexibility of start date allows the District to determine locally, on an annual basis, what best fits the local needs of our students and community. This strategy will provide the District the benefits of additional planning time for staff and learning time for students; additional time for staff to prepare for summer school; an improved balanced instructional calendar; and additional time for staff to participate in professional learning communities (PLC’s).

 

CLASS SIZE IN GRADES K-4

(Texas Education Code §§ 25.112, 25.113)

 

Manner in which the statute inhibits the plan

Texas Education Code 25.112 currently limits the number of students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade to 22. When a class exceeds this limit, the District must complete a waiver with the Texas Education Agency (TEA). These waivers are rarely rejected by TEA, making the process of applying for a waiver no more than an administrative step of putting TEA on notice. Texas Education Code 25.113 requires Districts to notify parents in each class section that exceeds the class size limit. Many times soon after the waiver is submitted, students move out of the District and the class returns to a size at or below the class size limit, thus negating the need for the waiver or notification to parents.

 

Category of innovation

Campus governance

 

Innovation strategies

The District would have the flexibility for all campuses and classrooms for the duration of the District of Innovation designation and would not be required to apply for class size waivers. The District intends to remain within the guidelines of the current education code. The District seeks flexibility to provide the best learning environment for our K-4 students. Class size must be balanced with the logistics of funding, availability of resources and space, and adding staff. The Superintendent will approve K-4 class sizes and report to the Board of Trustees any classroom size that exceeds the threshold established by the Texas Education Code.

 

TEACHER CERTIFICATION

(Texas Education Code 21.003 (a), 21.057)

 
Manner in which the statute inhibits the plan

The Texas Education Code requires a public school employee to have the appropriate certification for his or her current assignment unless the appropriate permit has been issued. The credentials appropriate to each assignment are set forth in the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rules at 19 Administrative Code Chapter 231. In the event an appropriately certified teacher cannot be found, the District must request an emergency certification from TEA and SBEC. These rules are burdensome and do not take into account the unique needs and circumstances of the District. Certain subject areas, such as Career and Technology/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Dual Credit, and other High School Courses are often very difficult to find properly-certified teachers.

 

Category of innovation

Other innovations prescribed by the Board of Trustees

 

Innovation strategies

By obtaining exemption from existing teacher certification requirements for dual credit, career and technology/STEM, and hard to fill content teachers, the District will have the flexibility to hire credentialed community college instructors or university professors in specific content areas, consider out of state teachers as well as currently employed certified teachers who could teach a course outside of their certification area, in order to provide NDISD students more educational opportunities. In addition, this exemption will afford the District the flexibility to hire professionals in certain trades and vocations to teach the crafts of those trades and vocations in career and technical/STEM and elective courses if certified teachers are not available. This will also apply to content area teachers for hard to fill positions. The Superintendent will seek the approval of the Board of Trustees for any teacher being considered for local certification.

 

PROBATIONARY TEACHER CONTRACTS

(Texas Education Code 21.102(b))  

 

Manner in which the statute inhibits the plan

The Texas Education Code requires that teachers newly-hired by the District who have five years of experience in public education in Texas within the last eight years can only be placed on a one-year probationary contract, and after the first year, must be placed on a term contract. In contrast, newly-hired teachers without the 5 of 8 years of experience can be hired by the District on a one-year probationary contract for a total of three years. This law limits the District’s ability to sufficiently assess and determine whether a newly-hired teacher is a good fit for the District. This law limits the District’s ability to sufficiently assess and determine whether a newly-hired teacher is a good fit for the District. The one-year probationary period is insufficient to evaluate the teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom because teacher contract renewal timelines demand that employment decisions be made before the end of the school year.

 

Category of innovation

Other innovations prescribed by the Board of Trustees


Innovation strategies

To create equity in new hires, give NDISD the opportunity to serve students better, allow administrators time to evaluate performance, and provide opportunities for improvement, growth and professional development, all new teachers hired in New Diana ISD will be issued a one year probationary contract for a total of up to three years. These teachers may be issued a fourth year probationary contract under the same rules as applied in Texas Education code 22.102(c).

 

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