District of Innovation Resources

  • Over time, education has become more and more regulated through federal and state legislation and [often unfunded] mandates.

    In honoring its commitment to the success of every child by advocating for true accountability based on measurement of individual student progress over time, regardless of external mandates, the Denton ISD Board of Trustees discussed and unanimously passed a resolution to explore becoming a “District of Innovation (DOI)” (https://goo.gl/1h6DPb) on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

    A district of what?

    In 2015, the Texas Legislature amended the Education Code to empower (a key word in the Denton ISD mission statement) school districts to enjoy some of the same flexibility given to charter schools by allowing the district to be exempt from certain requirements imposed by state law. Essentially, the DOI legislation is about offering districts local control. "Innovation" is somewhat a misnomer in this instance, and a more appropriate title would been “District of Local Control.”

    House Bill 1842

    With legislation such as No Child Left Behind and the ever-expanding Texas Education Code, districts have had little decision-making authority at the local level to reflect the uniqueness of each community. To some extent, DOI legislation offers a window of opportunity for districts to take back some local decision-making. As much as anything, many districts are seeking the DOI designation to demonstrate the desire for local control free of overarching federal and state mandates. That being said, districts cannot seek exemption from certain federal and state legislation such as academic accountability, including student standardized assessments. For a list of unallowable exemptions, see the TASB HB 1824 Info Sheet at http://goo.gl/5u6igH.

    While the DOI is essentially about local control, our district embraces innovation; and the board appointed Denton ISD DOI committee will pursue innovations in curriculum, instruction, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting, governance, and any other innovative ideas. The purpose of the Denton ISD DOI plan is to enable teachers to more effectively and efficiently meet students’ needs within the confines of the DOI legislation. The committee will address the following questions: If the idea(s) and/or suggestion(s) cannot be implemented because of current Texas Education Code restrictions, can we request an exemption under DOI legislation? If the idea(s) and/or suggestion(s) can be addressed now, what internal processes and/or procedures are preventing its implementation?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a “District of Innovation”?

  • What school districts are eligible to be Districts of Innovation?

  • Why would a school district choose to pursue this option?

  • What legal requirements could a school district avoid by becoming a District of Innovation?

  • What legal requirements will continue to apply to all school districts, including Districts of Innovation?

  • What impact could innovations have on school funding?

  • What impact could innovations have on school personnel?

  • Can a District of Innovation be created to respond to needs or opportunities at a particular subset of campuses?

  • What process is required to adopt an innovation plan?

  • How long does an innovation plan stay in effect?

  • What impact could designation as a District of Innovation have on district policy?