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District of Innovation

District of Innovation Plan 2016-2021

  • Adopted 9-26-16 in effect until 9/26/21
  • Amended 3/23/17
  • Amended 3/20/19

A District of Innovation is a concept passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842 that allows school districts greater local control and flexibility regarding certain state-level regulations in an effort to utilize the designation to better serve students.  

The proposed plan, once adopted, will remain in effect for the next five years (2016-20).  The plan may be amended at any time by the District of Innovation Committee with the approval of the school board.

District Innovation Committee

Jeanne Cobb


Kim Gissell


Bryan Myres


David Williams

Middle School

Karen Spottswood


Tom Frazier

Middle School

Cheryl Villanueva


Leigh Brown

High School

Mindi Reynolds


Shonda Christenson

High School

Michelle Bell


Nicole Lowe

High School

Ben Causey


Loretta Marable


Jason Karnes


Dora Narvaiz


Kasie Welborn


Jennifer Miller


Nicole Reuter


Sonda McLellan


Keri Grimsley


Cheri Littlejohn



Statutes include:

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

FIRST DAY OF INSTRUCTION.  (a)  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.


Godley ISD would like to have the freedom to develop a calendar that better fits the needs of the community should the committee choose to.   Having greater flexibility in this area would allow the District Committee to better balance the first and second semesters and provide more instructional days prior to state testing.

School Day Interruptions
(EC Local) (Ed. Code 25.083)

SCHOOL DAY INTERRUPTIONS.  (a)  The board of trustees of each school district shall adopt and strictly enforce a policy limiting interruptions of classes during the school day for nonacademic activities such as announcements to once during the school day except in the case of an emergency.


Godley ISD would like to have the freedom to make announcements as needed during picture days and other days that are not routine for greater efficiency.

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

MINIMUM ATTENDANCE. (a)  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.


Godley ISD would like to have the freedom to make course credit decisions on a case-by-case basis, for example, in such an instance where a student is involved in numerous UIL academic, athletics and Ag competitions, the Campus Attendance Committee would consider students’ grades, absences, and all pertinent information and make a decision.

Appraisals and Incentives
(DNA Legal & Local)  (Ed. Code 21.352)

LOCAL ROLE.  (c) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, appraisal must be done at least once during each school year.


Considering the comprehensive nature of the newly adopted Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), Godley ISD would like to have the freedom to develop a local plan and schedule regarding teacher evaluations.

Teacher Employment Contracts
(DCB Legal)

Education Code Chapter 21 Teacher Contracts defines a teacher contract as a ten month contract equivalent to 187 days.


Godley ISD would like to have the freedom to consider the reduction in contract days to better align with the 75,600 minutes required of students.

Certification Required
(DK Legal)  (Ed. Code 21.003)

CERTIFICATION REQUIRED. (a) A person may not be employed as a teacher by a school district unless the person holds an appropriate certificate or permit issued as provided by Subchapter B.


Godley ISD would like to make decisions regarding certifications locally and based on the needs of the campus and students.  In the event that the district cannot locate a certified teacher for a position or a teacher is teaching a subject outside of their certification, GISD would like to be afforded the flexibility to consider entering into at-will employment agreements with noncertified individuals that have field experience in a CTE field or a vocational skill that would provide more options for students and flexibility in scheduling.

Amendments added on March 27, 2017

Class Size in Kindergarten through 4th Grade
(EEB Legal) (Ed. Code 25.112)

Class Size. (a) Except as otherwise authorized by this section, a school district may not enroll more than 22 students in a kindergarten, first, second, third, or fourth-grade class.

Notice of Class Size in Kindergarten through 4th Grade
(Ed. Code 25.112 & 25.113)

Notice of Class Size. (a) A campus or district that is granted an exception under Section 25.112(d) from class size limits shall provide written notice of the exception to the parent of or a person standing in parental relation to each student affected by the exception.


By gaining exemption from these statutes, Godley ISD would no longer have to submit redundant class size waivers that are continuously approved by TEA and prevent multiple communications to parents each time a new student enrolls. The district is experiencing steady growth; students continue to enroll after school has started and it is impossible to predict class size. GISD will continue to keep class sizes within the 22-1 limits, but will seek relief on paperwork.

School District Depositories Contract
(BDAE Legal & Local) (Ed. Code Subchapter G. 45.206)

TERM OF CONTRACT. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the depository bank when selected shall serve for a term of two years and until its successor is selected and has qualified.
(b) A school district and the district’s depository bank may agree to extend a depository contract for two additional two-year-terms. An extension under this subsection is not subject to the requirements of Section 45.206.
(c) The contract term and any extension must coincide with the school district’s fiscal year.


By gaining exemption from these statutes, GISD would be able to allow the district’s existing bank contract to be extended beyond the total 6 year allowable contract term if the district determines contract pricing remains competitive and there is no operational or financial reason to send the district’s banking services out to bid. This exemption would lessen the administrative burden related to preparing and reviewing a Request for Proposal (RFP) when there is are no other banking institutions within district boundaries available to bid on the district’s business. In addition, this would further mitigate any impact to employees that would have to alter their direct deposit instructions and afford district flexibility with respect to local banking relationships.

Amendment added on March 20, 2019
Probationary Contract
(DCA Legal) (Ed. Code Subchapter C. 21.102.)
PROBATIONARY CONTRACT. (a) Except as provided by Section 21.202(b), a person who is employed as a teacher by a school district for the first time, or who has not been employed by the district for two consecutive school years subsequent to August 28, 1967, shall be employed under a probationary contract. A person who previously was employed as a teacher by a district and, after at least a two-year lapse in district employment returns to district employment, may be employed under a probationary contract.
(a-1) A person who voluntarily accepts an assignment in a new professional capacity that requires a different class of certificate under Subchapter B than the class of certificate held by the person in the professional capacity in which the person was previously employed may be employed under a probationary contract. This subsection does not apply to a person who is returned by a school district to a professional capacity in which the person was employed by the district before the district employed the person in the new professional capacity as described by this subsection. A person described by this subsection who is returned to a previous professional capacity is entitled to be employed in the original professional capacity under the same contractual status as the status held by the person during the previous employment by the district in that capacity.
(b) A probationary contract may not be for a term exceeding one school year. The probationary contract may be renewed for two additional one-year periods, for a maximum permissible probationary contract period of three school years, except that the probationary period may not exceed one year for a person who has been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of the eight years preceding employment by the district.
(c) An employment contract may not extend the probationary contract period beyond the end of the third consecutive school year of the teacher's employment by the school district unless, during the third year of a teacher's probationary contract, the board of trustees determines that it is doubtful whether the teacher should be given a continuing contract or a term contract. If the board makes that determination, the district may make a probationary contract with the teacher for a term ending with the fourth consecutive school year of the teacher's employment with the district, at which time the district shall:
(1) terminate the employment of the teacher; or
(2) employ the teacher under a continuing contract or a term contract as provided by Subchapter D or E, according to district policy.
The exemption is requested to address experienced teachers that have taught at least 5 out of the 8 years in public education. In addition to a one-year probationary contract, the district may recommend a probationary contract for a period for up to two years for experienced teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and other certified employees who are experienced but newly hired in GISD. Having this extra time will give the district the time to invest in these more experienced teachers in order to provide targeted mentoring, professional development, and remedial assistance with performance issues, if present, that might be corrected if given the time. A one-year probationary period is not enough time for a newly hired individual to be completely evaluated by the campus principal by mid-term of their first year. The ability to extend the probationary period on the contract, if needed, would afford the campus principal the necessary time needed to determine the professional’s capacity and effectiveness beyond the first year to determine if the individual is a good fit for the district’s students.

District of Innovation Timeline

  • January 18, 2016 School Board Meeting
    GISD Board of Trustees voted to adopt a Resolution to explore the designation of a District of Innovation

  • January 20, 2016 District Improvement Committee Meeting
    Districts of Innovation was an agenda item and discussed with the committee.  The committee agreed that this is definitely an idea worth exploring.

  • January - March 2016
    Window for Districts of Innovation to be discussed during all campuses at staff meetings

  • February 29, 2016  Innovation Night at Godley High School
    Districts of Innovation was an agenda item discussed with public.

  • May 16, 2016  ESC Region 11 Instructional Leaders’ Meeting
    Mark Baxter with TEA presented a PowerPoint presentation to explain the process and guidelines regarding Districts of Innovation.

  • May 23, 2016  GISD Districts of Innovation Steering Committee Meeting
    Steering committee met and discussed probable statutes and process involved in writing a plan.

  • June 27, 2016  School Board Meeting
    Board of Trustees appointed a Districts of Innovation Committee to develop a plan.

  • July 14, 2016  Districts of Innovation Committee Meeting
    The appointed Committee met and drafted a plan to present to the Board of Trustees.

  • July 21, 2016  School Board Meeting
    GISD proposed Districts of Innovation plan was presented to the Board and date was set for the public meeting prior to a special board meeting on August 9, 2016.

  • August 9, 2016  Public Hearing 6:15 pm
    GISD Districts of Innovation plan discussed and available for public comment

  • August 10, 2016  GISD District of Innovation Plan posted on GISD Website for 30 day period

  • September 26, 2016 GISD School Board Meeting
    Board of Trustees adopted the proposed District of Innovation plan 

  • October 3, 2016
    GISD District of Innovation plan filed with the Commissioner of Education
  • March 23, 2017 Districts of Innovation Committee Meeting
    The appointed Committee met and proposed amending the current plan.

  • March 27, 2017 The Board of Trustees voted to amend the current plan.

  • March 28, 2017 The commissioner was notified that the plan was amended.

  • March 20, 2019 The Board of Trustees voted to amend the current plan.

  • March 21, 2019 The commissioner was notified that the plan was amended and a checklist was provided.