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Trustees Pass Resolution to Support Innovations in Education

The Bryan ISD Board of Trustees has unanimously announced its support for the District to pursue a “District of Innovation (DOI)” designation from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The process begins with a resolution voted on by trustees, stating Bryan ISD’s intent to initiate a DOI process under Education Code Chapter 12A.

Districts of Innovation are springing up across the state, as trustees and administrators recognize the flexibility and latitude to relax or forego constraints placed on districts by laws and the educator code. Created by HB 1842 in the 84th legislative session, the designation as DOI allows public school districts many of the same freedoms that open enrollment charter schools enjoy. The newfound flexibility in tailoring an education toward the needs of individual districts has sparked nearly 40 districts to pursue and obtain DOI status.

“I commend our board for their vision and for supporting a more creative, flexible learning environment for students,” said Interim Superintendent Tim Rocka. “Our trustees understand that education is not one-size-fits-all and that the best decisions to enhance student success in Bryan are made by the people who serve in Bryan.”

Districts who met standard for the previous year’s academic performance are eligible to undertake the process of becoming a DOI. Under this provision, districts across the state are adding flexibility to, among other things, their:

  • First and last day of school.
  • Minutes of instruction.
  • Educator certifications, allowing flexibility to hire hard-to-fill positions (math, science, technology, career and technical education, etc.).
  • Class size, and more.

The new flexibilities provided by a DOI designation do not allow districts to exempt themselves from being governed by an elected board, state accountability standards, aspects of bilingual and special education services, graduation requirements, open records, public meetings and a host of other non-exempt regulations or activities.

The steps to become a District of Innovation begin with a board-approved resolution and then progress to a public hearing during a board meeting. At that point, the board decides whether to proceed forward or abandon the idea. Should the board wish to proceed, trustees will appoint a committee to develop the DOI plan. The plan would post on the district’s website for 30 days, and a copy of it would be transmitted to the TEA’s Commissioner of Education. A local advisory committee would then vote to approve the plan and, if approved by at least a 2/3 majority, the plan takes effect and the district is designated as a District of Innovation. The designation can remain in effect for up to five years. 

Bryan ISD Board Policy AF(LEGAL), which was previously approved by the board, aligns the district’s board policy with the legislation created by HB 1842.  

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For More information:

To learn about TEA Districts of Innovation, visit:
http://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Schools/General_Information/Innovation/Districts_of_Innovation/

For an overview, visit: 
http://tea.texas.gov/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=51539609009&libID=51539609009

For FAQs, visit:
https://www.tasb.org/Services/Legal-Services/TASB-School-Law-eSource/Governance/Districts-of-Innovation/documents/Districts-of-Innovation-FAQ.aspx

To view Texas Education Code Chapter 12A Districts of Innovation, visit: 
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.12A.htm

To view Bryan ISD Board Policy AF(LEGAL), visit:
http://pol.tasb.org/Policy/Download/225?filename=AF(LEGAL).pdf