The El Paso Independent School District’s District of Innovation Plan was officially confirmed by the state, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced Thursday. The designation is valid for five years.
EPISD is one of eight school districts whose District of Innovation designation was accepted by the state — the first batch of school districts in Texas to complete the process. The others are the Canton, Manbank, Palmer, Point Isabel, San Antonio, Spring Branch and Victoria independent school districts.
District of Innovation designation gives districts the flexibility to use exemptions to state education rules in order to achieve academic goals using forward-thinking curriculum and administrative initiatives. Some of those exemptions include length of the school day, class size, educator certification and the start of the school year.
“The District of Innovation designation is a point of pride for EPISD. It signals a desire by this community to work in tandem to deliver a world-class education to the children of El Paso,”
Superintendent Juan Cabrera said. “Moreover, it gives our teachers, administrators and staff the drive to continue to provide excellence in our efforts to serve the 60,000 students that come to our schools.”
Texas legislators created the District of Innovation designation in 2015 in order to give school districts the opportunity to be exempt from certain sections of the Texas Education Code.
To qualify, a district must have a Met Standard accountability rating and then establish a committee of stakeholders to help draft an official District of Innovation Plan for submission to the state. Public hearings and an official vote by the Board of Trustees also is required.
EPISD’s plan was adopted by the Board on May 17 and then submitted to Morath for final approval.
“The District of Innovation designation provides our districts with added flexibility that’s specific to each community,” Morath said. “This initial wave of notifications is just the beginning of what will be many districts that elect to go through this innovative process.”
To learn more about EPISD’s District of Innovation Plan and its impact on schools, click HERE.