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Introduction

House Bill 1842, passed by the 84th session of the Texas Legislature, permits local public schools to be distinguished as Districts of Innovation and obtain certain exemptions from the Texas Education Code. The Board of Trustees of the Apple Springs Independent School District passed a resolution to adopt an official plan of innovation to increase local flexibility over District operations and to support innovative methodologies.

Term

The term of the Plan of Innovation is for a period of five years beginning on August 1, 2017 and ending on July 31, 2022.

Provisions of Innovation

School Start Date (EB LEGAL) (Ed. Code 25.0811)

FIRST DAY OF INSTRUCTION. Except as provided by this section, a school district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August.

Proposed

Apple Springs ISD respectfully seeks the opportunity to develop a calendar that better suits the needs of the district and community. Having greater flexibility in this area would allow for a more effective and efficient balance of instructional days in each semester. Additionally, such a calendar will more closely align with local colleges and universities where many ASISD students are enrolled in concurrent classes. Finally, a flexible start date will provide greater scheduling opportunities for professional development throughout the course of a school year.

Minimum Attendance for Class Credit
(FEC Legal & Local) (Ed. Code 25.092)

MINIMUM ATTENDANCE. Except as provided by this section, a student in any grade from k-12 may not be given credit unless the student is in attendance for at least 90% of the days the class is offered.

Proposed

Apple Springs ISD seeks the opportunity to make course credit decisions on a case-by-case basis. The District believes that activities such as UIL academic, UIL athletic, Ag/FFA and other Board approved competitions to be an extension of the classroom and offer life-long learning opportunities. The District also recognizes the possibility of major medical situations which are beyond the control of the student and his/her parent. Under this proposal, the Campus Attendance Committee would consider each student’s grades, absences, and all pertinent information when making a course credit decision.

Teacher Employment Contracts
(DCB Legal)

The Texas Education Code Chapter 21 states that teacher contracts are defined as a ten month period equivalent to 187 days.

Proposed

Apple Springs ISD seeks the opportunity to construct ten month employment contracts for professional, certified personnel to better align with the 75,600 minutes required of students. This flexibility will allow the district to utilize extended work-days and alternative schedules to best meet the professional development needs of its staff.

Teacher Certifications (Ed. Code 21.003)

TEC 21.003 stipulates that a person may not be employed as a teacher by a district unless the person holds an appropriate certification or permit issued by the appropriate state agency.

Apple Springs ISD is a small, rural school district that is dedicated to offering the most comprehensive curriculum possible to its students. The most vital component to this mission is securing the services of qualified teachers. The District recognizes that the terms ‘qualified’ and ‘certified’ are not always synonymous or interchangeable.

Proposed

Apple Springs ISD seeks the opportunity to develop and issue a local teaching certificate which would allow the District to employ an individual not currently holding a valid permit issued by the state.

The requirements of this innovation will include:

An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university

And one or more of the following:

A current, valid teaching certificate, issued by the State of Texas, in subject or content areas other than that currently being sought

A personal, demonstrated fluency in a language other than English to be offered as official courses by the District

Professional, documented employment experience in one or more CTE fields such as nursing, cosmetology and others deemed necessary by the District

An Apple Springs ISD local teaching certificate will be issued at the discretion of the Superintendent and be valid for a maximum of two academic years. The local certificate will be non-renewable. An individual wishing to be considered for employment beyond the life of the local certificate will be required to obtain a valid teaching certificate issued by the State of Texas.