District of Innovation
District of Innovation Plan
The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislative Session in 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. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan, as set forth in Chapter 12A.The district's Local Innovation Plan was approved by the Lovejoy Board of Trustees on April 25, 2022 for a five-year term which will expire on April 24, 2027.
FIRST DAY OF INSTRUCTION
Texas Education Code:
Sec. 25.0811. FIRST DAY OF INSTRUCTION
“A school district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August.”
Board Policy EB: School Year
Lovejoy ISD believes the local community should decide what is best for its students in setting the first day of instruction. By claiming exemption from Sec. 25.0811, the district shall determine the first day of instruction for its students on an annual basis with input from stakeholders. Regardless of whether any adjustments or changes are made to the current start date law, Lovejoy ISD believes this issue to be a local decision as opposed to a state mandate.
Texas Education Code:
Sec. 21.003. CERTIFICATION REQUIRED
“A person may not be employed as a teacher, teacher intern or teacher trainee, librarian, educational aide, administrator, educational diagnostician, or school counselor by a school district unless the person holds an appropriate certificate or permit issued.”
Sec. 21.053. PRESENTATION AND RECORDING OF CERTIFICATES
Sec. 21.057. PARENTAL NOTIFICATION
Board Policy DBA: Employment Requirements and Restrictions Credentials and Records
Board Policy DK: Assignment and Schedules
Traditional certification requirements are not aligned with the realities of the current educational environment and the need to hire industry experts to teach many of the “hard to fill” course offerings such as career and technology, LOTE/world languages, and others. As a result, student interest is subject to being negatively impacted by the limited availability of these courses or classes. Lovejoy ISD believes school district leadership should decide what is best for its students in determining the candidate best suited for these positions when high quality, State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) certified teachers are not available. The district shall establish local criteria for training and locally certifying individuals rather than adhere strictly to mandates outlined in Sec. 21.053. In doing so, parental notification of “inappropriately certified or uncertified teachers” under Sec. 21.057 would no longer be necessary. Regardless of whether any adjustments or changes are made to the certification laws, Lovejoy ISD believes this issue to be a local decision as opposed to a state mandate.
Texas Education Code:
Sec. 21.102 PROBATIONARY CONTRACTS
A person who is employed as a teacher by a school district for the first time, or who has not been employed by the district for two consecutive school years subsequent to August 28, 1967, shall be employed under a probationary contract. All teachers that have been teaching in public education at least five of the last eight years prior to being employed by the district must be offered a term contract following one year on a probationary contract. Note: A “teacher” means a principal, supervisor, classroom teacher, school counselor or other full- time professional employee who is required to hold a certificate issued under TEC§21. Subchapter C.
Current requirements do not always allow for sufficient time to effectively evaluate the full range of skills and abilities of a teacher. Teachers may be limited in the time provided for them to demonstrate improvement in their teaching and instructional delivery. The district recommendation is to provide all new teachers, in good standing, with a second year of probationary status (probationary contract) to allow enough time to effectively evaluate the full range of their skills and abilities.
CAMPUS BEHAVIOR COORDINATOR
Texas Education Code
Sec. 37.0012 STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT
A person at each campus must be designated to serve as the campus behavior coordinator. The person designated may be the principal of the campus or any other campus administrator selected by the principal. The campus behavior coordinator is primarily responsible for maintaining student discipline and the implementation of Chapter 37, Subchapter A.
Exemption from this requirement will provide campuses the opportunity to allow campus administrators to fully understand and get to know the students in their caseload rather than sourcing all discipline matters to one employee designated as a campus behavior coordinator. While it is imperative that all employees work together and be informed as to the discipline that is occurring on a campus, it is just as crucial for students to depend on an administrator they know and trust in all facets of their education, including their discipline. Each campus should have the freedom to designate more than one behavior coordinator to best meet the needs of their students and teacher.