Update: February 2, 2017The Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District received notification of acceptance as a District of Innovation by the Texas Education Agency! See below to read more about the process and timeline.The Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District Board of Trustees is exploring the option of becoming designated as a District of Innovation.
The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislature (2015) through House Bill 1842, which was codified in Texas Education Code Chapter 12A. The designation allows school districts to access many of the same options that are currently available to charter schools. In order to seek the designation, a school district must have an accountability rating of met standard.
There are currently 35 school districts in the state with this designation and many others are currently involved in the process. Districts of Innovation may be exempted from a number of state statutes and will have:
- greater local control as the decision makers over the educational and instructional model for students;
- increased freedom and flexibility, with accountability, relative to state mandates that govern educational programming; and
- empowerment to innovate and think differently.
For more information on what the designation means to a school district, see the supplements accessible in the lefthand navigation menu. Additional District of Innovation resources are available at the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Association of School Boards.
District of Innovation Timeline
- May 16, 2016 — EMS ISD Board of Trustees voted to adopt a Resolution to explore the designation of a District of Innovation
- May 16, 2016 — Board of Trustees appointed a District of Innovation Planning Committee to develop a plan
- May 16, 2016 — Board of Trustees declared an open public hearing to hear public comment
- September 12, October 3, December 1, 2016 — Committee met and drafted a plan to present to the Board of Trustees
- December 5-January 11, 2016 — Presentation to all campuses
- December 5-January 11, 2016 — EMS ISD District of Innovation Plan posted on EMS ISD website for a minimum 30-day period.
- December 12, 2016 — District of Innovation plan presented to the Board. Board President notifies the Commissioner of Education Morath of Intent to Adopt District of Innovation plan report.
- January 11, 2017 — DPAC met and discussed feedback and suggestions for improvement. Final version approved with a majority vote.
- January 17, 2017 — EMS ISD District of Innovation Public Hearing
- January 17, 2017 — Board of Trustees adopted the proposed District of Innovation plan with more than a two-thirds majority vote.
- January 18, 2017 — EMS ISD District of Innovation plan filed with the Commissioner of Education
- February 2, 2017 — EMS ISD formally listed as a District of Innovation with TEA and TASA
Update on 5/5/17
The board of Trustees approved the following policies on April 17, 2017:
AF(LOCAL) states that the District has completed all requirements for designation as an innovation district.EB(LOCAL) states that the District is exempt from provisions in state law that prohibit students from beginning school before the fourth Monday of August and ending before May 15.
FO(LOCAL) states that the District is exempt from provisions in state law requiring that a single person at each campus be designated to serve as the campus behavior coordinator. Campus administrators designated by the principal shall serve as campus discipline coordinators.The remaining policies will continue to be researched by the District Planning and Advisory Committee and presented to the Board at a later date for approval for implementation.
The board of Trustees approved the following polices on August 21, 2017: EB(LOCAL) School Day- School Year- The District is exempt from provisions in state law that prohibit students from beginning school before the fourth Monday of August and ending before May 15. It also exempts the district from the 75,600 minute requirement.
DBA(LOCAL) Employment Requirements and Restrictions, Credentials, and Records- State certification shall not be required for teachers of career and technology education (CTE) courses. All other teaching assignments shall require certification in accordance with state law.
DK(LOCAL) Assignment and Schedules- The Superintendent shall have the authority to approve a request by the principal for an individual with experience in a career and technical education (CTE) field to teach a vocational skills course in accordance with the District’s innovation plan.
EC(LOCAL) School Day- In accordance with the District’s innovation plan, the District is exempt from state laws requiring an instructional day to consist of seven hours or 420 minutes. The District shall communicate information about the length of school days in appropriate District publications.
The final policy is FEC(LOCAL) 90% Attendance- We will continue to research this policy to determine the regulations which best meet our student’s needs. Until the Board adopts a new Policy FEC (Local) that implements the District’s exemption from Section 25.092 of the Education Code and replaces the 90% rule, current Policy FEC (Local) and the 90% rule are still in effect.