Houston ISD releases draft of plan to become ‘District of Innovation’

HOUSTON – Houston ISD’s District of Innovation Committee has released the draft plan for the district to become a District of Innovation (DOI).

“The draft plan is designed to support the district’s progress toward Destination 2035, where every student graduates prepared to succeed in the modern workplace and world,” the district said.

HISD said they are releasing the draft to the public, even though changes will likely be made before the final plan is posted, voted on by the District Advisory Committee and the HISD School Board, and sent to the Texas Education Agency.

School districts in the state that have DOI status are exempt from certain statutory requirements. This allows those district to be more flexible, which can enhance the deliveries of programs and services and help improve student outcomes.

“The draft plan was developed by the DOI Committee with input from the School Board and District leaders and other staff,” the district said.

RELATED: HISD board votes to become a ‘district of innovation,’ plans to extend number of school days

The district said the plan includes proposed exemptions which fall within three areas. Those areas are quality of instruction, modern staffing, and improved schools.

The district said specifically, there are proposed exemptions to allow for more instructional days, ensure all students have access to highly effective teachers, ensure school leaders, teachers, and other staff are accountable for the behavior and culture in their schools, and that staff work together to meet students’ unique needs, and expand students’ access to real-world educational opportunities outside the classroom.

The district said there are many other exemptions a district can apply for that are not included in the draft plan. The exemptions that are in the draft plan were identified by members of the District of Innovation Committee as exemptions which would make the greatest impact in boosting student achievement.

“This process involved touring schools, hearing from HISD Board members and programmatic leaders, and meeting as a group over eight convenings to craft and refine the draft plan,” the district said. “The Committee believes it is important to ensure the HISD community understands how the plan will affect students and educators. As such, the Committee took additional steps that are not required as part of the plan. These steps included drafting—for each proposed exemption—a section outlining the rationale and benefits; specific implementation guidance to explain how the exemption would be applied in schools; and a snapshot of districts that have adopted the same exemption. In addition, the Committee worked with HISD leadership to ensure alignment and a commitment to the implementation guidance.”

The District Advisory Committee will provide feedback on the draft plan at a meeting with the District of Innovation Committee this Wednesday, Nov. 8. The District of Innovation Committee will then work to decide how to incorporate the feedback they receive into the plan.

The finalized draft plan will be posted by HISD on Friday, Nov. 10.

The District Advisory Committee is scheduled to take public comment and vote on the plan at a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14. If the District Advisory Committee approves the plan, it will be added to the agenda for the regular meeting of the HISD School Board on Dec. 14.

To view the draft plan, click here.

RELATED: Houston ISD votes to create committee to move forward with plans to become ‘District of Innovation’

About the Author:

Christian Terry covered digital news in Tyler and Wichita Falls before returning to the Houston area where he grew up. He is passionate about weather and the outdoors and often spends his days off on the water fishing.