Hays CISD releases draft innovation plan

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On Nov. 9 Hays CISD released the draft of its innovation plan, which must be approved by the board of trustees in order to receive a district of innovation designation.

If approved, the district would be able to make changes to the academic calendar and to exempt some Career and Technical Education instructors from teacher certification requirements.

The district of innovation designation was created by the Texas Legislature in 2015 as a way to give independent school districts some of the flexibility that charters schools have under state law. While becoming a district of innovation can allow for numerous exemptions to curriculum or logistics requirements, the most-used exemption is the one that allows schools to start earlier in August.

HCISD Superintendent Eric Wright is pursuing the innovation plan so the district’s high schools can operate with two 18-week semesters instead of the current 36-week school year. Among other reasons, when he spoke to the board Wright cited the possibility for students to accrue more AP credits.

The HCISD innovation plan was proposed by a committee comprised of members of the District Leadership Team and parents appointed by the board of trustees.

According to the formal district of innovation process, the plan will be posted online for at least 30 days and a public hearing will be held Nov. 27 before the plan is formally approved by HCISD trustees at its Dec. 17 meeting. There will also be opportunities for public comment at the next two board meetings—Nov. 12 and Nov. 26—as well as through the district’s website.

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