Under House Bill 1842 passed during the 84th Texas legislative session, Texas public school districts have an opportunity to be designated at a District of Innovation. In a recent session of the SSISD board, the local district voted to become a school of innovation. A number of other schools in the area are also taking the step. Specific qualifiers, having attained the accountability rating of “Met Standard”, allow a district to become a district of innovation.
The designation allows the district to be exempt from certain sections of the Texas Education Code that inhibits the goals of the district. The designation has only a five year life span. Among those options offered are:
- Innovative curriculum, instructional methods, and provisions regarding community participation, campus governance, and parental involvement.
- Modifications to the school day or year.
- Provisions regarding the district budget and sustainable program funding.
- Accountability and assessment measures that exceed the requirements of state and federal law.
- Any other innovations prescribed by the Board of Trustees.
The proposal provides a proposed timeline for plan development and approval through notifying the commissioner of education on April 11 of this year. In order to meet that timeline, a 26-member Planning Committee was elected that is composed of the Superintendent, all Principals, six elementary teachers, two secondary teachers, two parent and two business representatives and a community representative along with select specific staff.