D-LS ISD posts District of Innovation Plan draft
Editor’s Note: When the 84th Texas Legislative Session passed House Bill 1842 in the spring of 2015, school districts were given the opportunity to be designated as a District of Innovation. The following is the second of three articles that will chronicle what each area district- Hughes Springs, Daingerfield, and Avinger- has set out as their proposed innovation plans.
By Toni Walker
DAINGERFIELD – Daingerfield-Lone Star Independent School District has posted their Innovation Plan for public comment to their website, bringing them one step closer to becoming a District of Innovation.
On Jan. 17, the D-LS ISD Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to become a District of Innovation in order to support local initiatives to improve learning.
The board voted for Curriculum Director Martha Campbell to to form a committee to formulate an Innovation Plan. The committee represents teachers, administrators, parents, and community members.
The board appointed the District Site- Based Committee to discuss and draft a Local Innovation Plan.
According to the district’s plan, if accepted, “the District of Innovation Plan will become effective July 1 and will remain in effect for five years, through June 2022, unless terminated or amended earlier by the Board of Trustees in accordance with the law. The district site based committee will monitor the effectiveness of the Plan and adjustments will be made in the best interests of student and staff, if necessary, at any time during the term of this plan in accordance with the law.”
In the committee’s draft of the innovation plan, The Texas Education Code that is beginning considered is listed, with the proposed changes under the District of Innovation Plan, as well as the local guidelines to be followed.
According to the Texas Education Code, “a district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August unless the district operates a yearround system. A district may not receive a waiver for this requirement.”
Under the district’s proposed plan, Daingerfield schools would be allowed to begin school earlier in August. Benefits of the proposed change include an additional week of instructional time prior to state assessments, the ability to end the school year prior to the beginning of summer college terms. This would allow students to enroll in courses with the benefit of a finalized official transcript, and balanced semesters.
The district will determine annually when each school year should begin.
TEC states “experienced teachers new to the district have a probationary period that may not exceed one year if the person has been employed as a teacher in Texas public education for at least five of the previous eight years.”
Under the proposed plan, the limited time frame is insufficient in some cases to determine a staff member’s effectiveness. Relief from TEC will permit the district the option of issuing a probationary contract for a period of up to two years for experienced teachers and counselors newly hired in D-LS ISD.
At the time of contract recommendation consideration, new teachers who have completed their first probationary year with the district may receive a probationary contract for a second year to continue to evaluate the teacher’s effectiveness.
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