Van Alstyne ISD will have a public hearing on Sept. 19 prior to its regular board meeting to discuss the possibility of becoming a “District of Innovation.” The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th legislative session in House Bill 1842. The law allows traditional independent school districts to access most of the flexibilities available to Texas' open enrollment charter schools.
Districts which decide to pursue a District of Innovation plan are able to analyze specific innovations in curriculum, instruction, governance, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting, or other ideas. An innovation plan also allows a school district to gain exemption from many Texas Education Code requirements. Essentially, an innovation plan allows for schools and communities to have local control regarding the best ways to educate children.
The Board of Trustees will consider adopting a resolution to consider becoming a District of Innovation. After the public hearing, the board will determine if it wants to continue the process of becoming a District of Innovation. If trustees decide to proceed, they will appoint a committee to develop a local innovation plan. The committee would consist of administrators, teachers, board members, parents and community members. This team would be charged with evaluating the state-mandated school start date, minimum minutes of instruction, class size ratio, the 90-percent attendance rule, teacher certification, teacher contracts, teacher benefits, and the teacher/principal evaluation system. After considering these items, the Innovation team would present its findings to all three campuses and the District Improvement Committee and make final recommendations to the board for approval.