The following is not an exhaustive list, but it offers glimpses into some of the school districts that are believed to be considering, exploring, or taking steps to become a DOI:
The small El Paso area district's board of trustees approved a DOI resolution and formed a committee to explore exemptions that the district may claim. Committee members include an assistant superintendent, two principals, a special education director, two instructional specialists, one counselor, one parent, and three teachers. In July, the committee is expected to present the board with a proposed innovation plan, which may include exemptions from the school start date law and teacher certification requirements.
Big Spring ISD
The district has adopted a DOI plan that will allow it to exempt itself from the mandatory uniform school start date law and start school one week earlier than the law would allow; disregard the 22:1 class-size limit in grades K-4 without need for requesting a waiver from the state; assign some teachers to teach outside of their certification field; and use a locally developed teacher evaluation system.
Clear Creek ISD
The school board voted to pursue designation as a DOI and form a new district committee that will develop the innovation plan for Coppell this fall. It's been reported that the plan is to be finalized by November, that it will likely include setting an earlier school start date, and that the plan may also address class-size limits, certification requirements, and even teacher contracts.
Dripping Springs ISD
The board of trustees is considering an agenda item in June to decide whether it will pursue DOI status.
El Paso ISD:
EPISD was one of the earliest districts to pursue DOI status. On May 15, the board adopted a revised innovation plan that exempts EPISD from the school start date law, minimum attendance requirements, teacher certification laws for dual-credit and CTE teachers, and laws pertaining to some aspects of teacher evaluations.
Ft. Bend ISD
Grand Prairie ISD: The district posted a draft of a six-year innovation plan on its website in June 2016. The plan includes exemption from the law regarding the 22:1 class-size limit and states that parents of students in affected grades will be notified if the district's average class-size limit exceeds 24:1 for that grade level. GPISD also intends to exempt itself from the school start date law; teacher certification requirements (primarily for CTE teachers); and the minimum instructional minutes requirements for its half-day pre-Kindergarten programs and alternative campuses. If approved, GPISD's innovation plan will take effect beginning with the 2016-17 school year.
GCISD's board voted on May 25 to pursue DOI status and is creating a new committee made up of staff, parents, students, and community members to explore possible exemptions from state laws.
Kaufman ISD: The district's five-year innovation plan, starting in 2016-17, includes exemptions from several significant education laws, including the 22:1 class-size limit; the uniform school start date law; and teacher certification requirements for grades 7-12 and bilingual classes. Certain contract laws are also being waived so that KISD may place experienced teachers new to the district on probationary contracts for two years rather than one year. The district is also exempting itself from some disciplinary statutes in TEC Chapter 37 in order to implement a more liberal policy on student expulsions for persistent misbehavior.
Kemp ISD: The district intends to implement a five-year innovation plan beginning with the 2016-17 school year. Exemptions sought by KISD include the mandatory school start date law and the requirements that teachers be certified. The district indicates that principals may request that Kemp's superintendent allow a certified teacher to be assigned outside of his or her certification field; that CTE experts may be certified locally by the district for one-year teaching assignments as at-will employees; and that the district will post an online report of all teachers teaching outside their certification fields.
Lago Vista ISD
Lytle ISD: The district's five-year innovation plan beginning with the 2016-17 school year includes exemptions from the school start date law and teacher certification requirements. As in some other districts, LISD's plan will allow teachers to be assigned to teach classes outside their certification field upon a principal's request. It also allows for the creation of one-year local certificates for CTE teachers who will be hired as at-will (non-contract) employees.
Los Fresnos CISD
Northside (9) ISD
Point Isabel ISD
Red Oak ISD: ROISD's board passed a resolution in May 2016 enabling it to explore DOI designation. The district indicates that it is interested in possible exemption from state laws governing the school start date and certification requirements for CTE teachers. A District Advisory Committee is reviewing the proposal this summer.
Richardson ISD: The board of trustees unanimously adopted a resolution in June 2016 to pursue DOI designation. District officials have expressed an interest in exempting RISD from certification laws, especially for CTE teachers; laws restricting virtual instruction; and the mandatory school start date. The district's timeline calls for a plan to be developed this fall and not adopted by the board until the spring of 2017.
Round Rock ISD: The district's board of trustees recently passed a resolution to pursue DOI status and plans to convene public hearings. According to the district's website, "If the Board chooses to continue the process, a 15-member committee, including board-selected members, select principals from elementary, middle and high schools, two teachers of the year, two students and five district administrators, will create a five-year Innovation plan, which will be revisited annually."
San Antonio ISD
Slidell ISD: The district intends to implement a DOI plan starting with the 2016-17 school year. Slidell ISD's board has expressed a desire to exempt the district from laws governing the school start date, length of the school day, the 22:1 class-size limit in elementary grades, and teacher certification requirements.
Spring Branch ISD:
Spring Branch ISD’s Board of Trustees adopted a strategic/innovation plan on April 25, 2016, that enables the district to take advantage of exemptions allowed under the new law. Spring Branch ISD’s innovation plan states in writing that the district “seeks exemption from all permissible provisions of the TEC as allowed in the statute.” The plan does not identify specific actions that it intends to take as a result of becoming exempt from so many state laws. If the district exercises all of the flexibility it has claimed in its plan, teachers in Spring Branch could lose their contract rights and salary protections, students could be taught in larger classrooms by uncertified teachers, and parents could lose access to information about the instruction of their children. It is unclear which statutes the SBISD school board actually intends to waive and what types of board policies may change under the district’s new innovation plan.
Wichita Falls ISD
If your school district is considering becoming a DOI, and you’d like us to add them to our list, please send information about the district’s innovation plan to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.