The Conroe ISD District of Innovation Committee approved a draft plan Jan. 10 to begin the process of renewing its District of Innovation distinction, which gives districts the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools.

The CISD board of trustees initially approved a resolution Nov. 14 to begin the renewal process.

What you need to know

According to the Texas Association of School Boards, DOI schools can be exempt from mandates such as:
  • School start date
  • Class-size ratios
  • Site-based decision-making processes
  • Certain student discipline provisions
  • Teacher appraisal requirements
According to a news release, CISD became a DOI in 2015, and to maintain its designation the district must review and update its DOI plan every five years.

The details

Highlights from the district's proposed plan include asking for exemption from Texas Education Codes that require school districts to:
  • Designate a person to serve as a campus behavior coordinator
  • Start instruction after the fourth Monday in August and end school after May 15
  • Operate at least 75,600 minutes each school year
  • Place students who possess, use, sell, give or deliver to another person an e-cigarette in a disciplinary alternative education program
  • Accept transfer students on an annual basis when both the receiving district and the student applicant's parents or guardian approve the transfer in writing
More details

DOI school district's can also make adjustments to teacher requirements, certifications, contracts and workdays. CISD's plan includes seeking exemption from Texas Education Codes that:
  • Prohibit the employment of an individual unless the person holds an appropriate certificate or permit
  • Prohibit giving a probationary employment contract for more than one school year to a teacher who has been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of the eight years preceding employment in a school district
  • Create employment contracts for educators with a minimum of 10 months and provide for a minimum of 187 days of service
  • Set out the metrics that may or may not be used as part of the teacher appraisal process
According to the news release, aside from being able to apply for certain exemptions, as a DOI a school district’s board of trustees can gain greater local control in its decision making while continuing to comply with the state’s fiscal, instructional and academic accountability requirements.

Get involved

The district's DOI Committee is now seeking feedback on the proposed plan.
  • Comments can be submitted until Feb. 11.
  • The DOI Committee will review the submitted comments and hold an open meeting Feb. 14.
  • A presentation will be made to the board for approval Feb. 20.
Comments about the plan can be submitted through the District of Innovation website.