Trustees to discuss District of Innovation designation

Applying for a District of Innovation designation from the Texas Education Agency will be discussed by the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees in a board work/study session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Conference Room A/B on the third floor of the administration building, 802 N. Sam Houston Ave.

Supplemental agenda material stated that the District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislature through House Bill 1842, which created Texas Education Code chapter 12A.

The law allows traditional independent school districts to access most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools by becoming designated as a District of Innovation.

In order to be eligible, a school district must have an accountability rating of met standard, which ECISD does.

Public Information Officer Mike Adkins said the district will ask for flexibility in its calendar – being able to start before the fourth Monday in August; an exemption from the 22-1 student to teacher ratio in kindergarten through fourth grades; career and technical education certification; and the student performance factor in teacher and administrator appraisals.

Adkins said the district applies for class-size waivers every year. ECISD applied for 30 classroom waivers in September 2016, the lowest number since 2010. Two years ago, before the three new elementary schools opened, it was 168, Adkins added.

Most of the time the waivers are applied for due to lack of space or lack or teachers and the number of students in those classes are usually only one or two over the 22-1 requirement, Adkins said.

Some of the other items on the agenda are:

  • A presentation from District Continuous Improvement Team Index 3: Closing the Performance Gaps Subcommittee.
  •  Update on campus turnaround plans.
  • Presentation and discussion of 2015-16 Texas Academic Performance Reports.
  •  A presentation of the District Continuous Improvement Plan quarterly update.
  •  Discussion of a request for approval of an election order and notice for May 6 for the board of trustees’ election.