District of Innovation Committee Advances Draft Innovation Plan to District Advisory Committee for Review and Feedback

Monday afternoon, HISD’s District of Innovation (DOI) Committee sent to the District Advisory Committee (DAC) a draft plan for HISD to become a DOI. The draft plan is designed to support the District’s progress toward Destination 2035, where every student graduates prepared to succeed in the modern workplace and world.

To ensure transparency, we are releasing the draft publicly here, even though changes will likely be made before the final plan is posted, voted on by the DAC and HISD School Board, and submitted to the Texas Education Agency.

School districts in Texas with DOI status are exempt from certain statutory requirements. This allows DOI systems to implement flexibilities that can enhance the delivery of programs and services and help improve student outcomes. The draft plan was developed by the DOI Committee with input from the School Board and District leaders and other staff. 

The plan includes proposed exemptions that fall within the three strategic-priority areas of Quality of Instruction, Modern Staffing, and Improved Schools. Specifically, there are proposed exemptions to: 

  • Allow for more instructional days. 
  • Ensure all students have access to highly effective teachers.
  • Ensure school leaders, teachers, and other staff are accountable for the behavior and culture in their schools, and that staff work together to meet students’ unique needs.
  • Expand students’ access to real-world educational opportunities outside the classroom.

There are many exemptions for which a district may apply that are not included in the DOI Committee’s draft plan. Members of the Committee—who were appointed by the Board and bring a diverse set of experiences and perspectives from across the District—worked to identify those exemptions that will make the greatest impact in boosting student achievement. This process involved touring schools, hearing from HISD Board members and programmatic leaders, and meeting as a group over eight convenings to craft and refine the draft plan. 

The Committee believes it is important to ensure the HISD community understands how the plan will affect students and educators. As such, the Committee took additional steps that are not required as part of the plan. These steps included drafting—for each proposed exemption—a section outlining the rationale and benefits; specific implementation guidance to explain how the exemption would be applied in schools; and a snapshot of districts that have adopted the same exemption. In addition, the Committee worked with HISD leadership to ensure alignment and a commitment to the implementation guidance.

The DAC will provide feedback on the draft plan at a meeting with the DOI Committee this Wednesday, November 8. The DOI Committee will then determine whether and how to incorporate that feedback into the plan. On Friday, November 10, HISD will post the finalized draft DOI plan. The DAC is scheduled to take public comment and vote on the plan at its meeting Tuesday, November 14. If the DAC approves the plan, it will be added to the agenda for the regular meeting of the HISD School Board on December 14.