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Frisco ISD gains flexibility with innovation plan

By becoming a District of Innovation, Frisco ISD will have greater flexibility in certain areas such as when the school year starts. 

The 2017-18 school year will start on August 21.

Marisa Uddin

By becoming a District of Innovation, Frisco ISD will have greater flexibility in certain areas such as when the school year starts. The 2017-18 school year will start on August 21.

Megan Lin, Editor-in-chief

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Frisco ISD’s Board of Trustees recently approved a Local Innovation Plan, becoming one of the many Districts of Innovation in Texas. The move allows the school district to customize certain things.

“The District of Innovation concept was created by the Texas Legislature in 2015,” FISD Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Gary Nye said in an email. “It allows school districts to access most of the flexibilities available to open enrollment charter schools. Frisco ISD chose to seek three exemptions from state law through its Local Innovation Plan – school start date, designation of campus behavior coordinator and minutes of instruction at the Pre-K level.”

Although Districts of Innovation are offered greater flexibility in their calendars, students and parents are unlikely to notice any drastic changes.

“Because Frisco ISD is no longer subject to the statute that dictates school cannot begin prior to the fourth Monday in August, Frisco ISD was able to schedule the first day of the 2017-18 school year on August 21, which is the third Monday in August, and close the school year on June 1,” Nye said. “The first day of the 2016-17 school year was August 22 and the last day is June 2, so it will not make much of a difference next school year.”  

Besides an earlier start date for students, administrators will share duties previously delegated to one person.

“The exemption regarding campus behavior coordinators allows the District to go back to the previous practice of assigning multiple assistant principals with duties related to student discipline management,” Nye said. “In 2015, the 84th Legislature required that this duty be assigned to one administrator, which created inefficiencies, limited the effectiveness of administrators, and did not support the relationship building that we value within Frisco ISD.”

Districts wishing to seek this status must have an accountability rating of “Met Standard” with the Texas Education Agency but there are limits to what can be done under the innovation plan.

“Despite its name, this designation does not allow FISD to be overly innovative or to make changes in many other areas related to curriculum, graduation requirements, governance, academic and financial accountability and much more,” Nye said. “There are other areas where Frisco ISD may still seek exemptions from state law. The Local Innovation Plan will be reviewed each year by the committee who drafted it to ensure it is continuing to meet the needs of the District. Any changes would need to be approved by the District Improvement Team and Board of Trustees.”

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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas
Frisco ISD gains flexibility with innovation plan