DISTRICT OF INNOVATION

Midland ISD began its transformation in the 2018-19 school year by implementing the District of Innovation concept, jumping on the opportunity afforded by the 84th Legislature’s House Bill 1842 to better individualize instruction at the campus level and improve academic performance. Every Midland ISD staff member has a growth mindset and a “no excuses” philosophy. Click here to view the full plan

Card image cap
A NEW THEORETICAL APPROACH

Over the next five years, Midland ISD will move from the more traditional Managed Instruction theory of action to an Earned Autonomy theory of action. In Managed Instruction theory, school curricula are largely dictated by a centralized authority. In becoming a District of Innovation, Midland ISD instead has implemented Earned Autonomy theory. Midland ISD’s central administration now directly administers some campuses and grants varying levels of autonomy to other campuses based on clearly defined operational thresholds. Central administration methodically identifies paths for performance improvement, aligns educator incentives with student performance and ensures that educator placement is a function of student needs rather than adult preferences.

Card image cap
FULL AUTONOMY AND GREATER ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

Within no more than five years, Midland ISD will transition to a System of Great Schools theory of action, where central administration grants autonomy to schools, empowers parents to make choices, creates performance contracts with campuses, annually evaluates performance of and demand for schools, and makes strategic decisions regarding growing access to high-performing schools and addressing low performers.

PURSUIT OF EXEMPTIONS

Midland ISD is pursuing seven exemptions from the Texas Education Code as a District of Innovation.

90% attendance rule

Credit or a final grade for a class is based on a student attending at least 90% of the days a class is offered. Midland ISD believes a student’s learning outcomes should be the determining factor in earning credit and a grade rather than measures such as “seat time” that do not coniser the real objectives of the educational experience.

Teacher certification

The code requires a person must hold an appropriate certification or permit issued by the state in order to be employed as a teacher by a school district. Midland ISD wants to create its own standard to determine qualifications, such as other testing options and/or qualified experiences and work history.

Minutes of instruction

Per the 84th Legislature’s House Bill 2610, school districts are required to provide 75,600 minutes of instruction. Midland ISD instead wants flexibility in calculating the minutes of instruction, which could vary from the statute’s requirement.

Early release/length of school day

The code says a school day must be at least seven hours (420 minutes) each day, including intermissions and recesses. Midland ISD wants flexibility on school days with fewer than 240 minutes to count toward minutes of instruction.

Uniform start date

The code specifies that a school district may not begin the school year before the fourth Monday in August. Midland ISD would like to start school earlier for reasons such as aligning with college schedules so students can take advantage of summer offerings at institutions of higher education and to provide for more innovative scheduling to allow for more intentional teacher professional development throughout the school year.

Campus behavior coordinator

Currently, each campus is required to have a designated person to serve as a campus behavior coordinator who is responsible for maintaining student discipline and who can perform the duties imposed on a campus principal or other campus administrator. Midland ISD seeks a more collaborative approach to develop effective, individualized responses to discipline issues by allowing campuses to assign a person or persons who are most knowledgeable about the student to develop an individualized discipline plan with teachers, student, and families.

Class size

State law requires districts to maintain a 22:1 student-to-teacher ratio for Kindergarten through 4th grade classes. Midland ISD would like to increase this ratio when deemed appropriate and in the best interest of students at the district’s own discretion.

RESOURCES

Midland ISD District of Innovation

District of Innovation Frequently Asked Questions

Process to Become a District of Innovation Texas Education Code (TEC) Chapter 12A

Resolution for Midland ISD to Initiate the Process of Designation as a District of Innovation Under TEC Section 12A.001