Last week, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees renewed LISD’s District of Innovation designation for another five years, which will allow the district to keep starting the school year early and help it better address teacher shortages.
House Bill 1842, passed by the 2015 Texas Legislature, created the DOI system that allows districts to create an innovation plan with community input and then identify certain approved sections of the Texas Education Code that it deems to impede those plans. LISD joined the program’s participants in 2017 and used one of the DOI exemptions to start the school year early. The DOI plan lasts five years, so the district sought public feedback to consider extended its status as a DOI for another five years.
Shawn Sheehan, LISD’s director of government affairs, said DOI exemptions allow district more flexibility and local control that benefit the district.
The new LISD DOI plan exemptions will allow the district to continue to begin the academic calendar before the fourth Monday of August, to not have to name a single Campus Behavior Coordinator at each campus, flexibility in the length of probationary contracts and, due to ongoing and anticipated teacher shortages, exemptions to teacher certification requirements in identified teacher shortage areas.
“Teachers with current certifications and credentials will remain the preference,” the district website says. “However, if Lewisville ISD encounters staffing shortages, this exemption can offer the flexibility needed to address our unique staffing needs … For example, this exemption may be used to hire a teacher who holds a current teaching certificate, but not in the content area or subject in which they are being assigned to teach.”
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