Houston ISD’s District Advisory Committee approved a District of Innovation plan that, if formally adopted in December, will allow for more instructional days in the coming school years.

The overview

During a Nov. 14 meeting, HISD’s 60-member District Advisory Committee signed off on the plan, giving parents and community members a month to voice their concerns before the district’s board of managers considers adopting the plan during its Dec. 14 meeting.

HISD officials said the plan will allow the district to:
  • Start the school year before the fourth Monday in August
  • Hire uncertified teachers without obtaining a waiver from the Texas Education Agency
  • Develop a local teacher appraisal system
  • Have more flexibility in determining minimum attendance requirements for class credit for eligible high school students
How we got here

HISD board managers approved a resolution during their Sept. 7 workshop allowing officials to begin the process of applying for a District of Innovation designation.

According to the Texas Education Agency, the designation would allow HISD to become exempt from certain sections of the Texas Education Code that inhibit the goals of the district as outlined in a locally adopted innovation plan.

Additionally, the innovation plan must identify the requirements imposed in the Texas Education Code officials believe the district should be exempted from upon the adoption of the plan, according to TEA information.

A closer look

HISD operates on a 172-day schedule. By adjusting the start date, officials said the district would be able to have up to 180 school days in the 2024-25 school year and up to 185 days in future school years.

Superintendent Mike Miles said the district would implement a new compensation package for district employees to reflect the additional workdays, but he did not provide any details.

Additionally, the plan would allow the district to hire uncertified teachers without obtaining a waiver from the TEA.

However, Miles said the exemption would only be used to hire instructors teaching high school courses, and preference would be given to certified candidates. He said HISD would require uncertified teachers hired by the district to obtain their certification within two years.

What’s next

District officials are required to post the approved plan on HISD’s website for 30 days before the board of managers can vote to formally adopt it.

Officials said the item is planned to be on the board’s Dec. 14 agenda.