District News ➤ Article 8335
North Hopkins Pursues District of Innovation

Posted Date: 04/24/2017

North Hopkins ISD Pursues

“District of Innovation” Designation


North Hopkins ISD began the process of working toward becoming a “District of Innovation” during the January 26th meeting of the NHISD Board of Trustees, with the school board approving a resolution to authorize the district to move forward in seeking the designation.


The “District of Innovation” concept was passed into law by the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015 though House Bill 1842. The designation allows school districts to access many of the same options that are currently available to charter schools. In order to seek a “District of Innovation” designation, school districts must have an accountability rating of “Met Standard,” which NHISD met in the most recent state accountability ratings in 2016.


According to the resolution approved by NHISD trustees January 26th, the district appointed a district and community committee to develop the plan.


Potential benefits of becoming a District of Innovation include:


   • INCREASED LOCAL CONTROL: Districts decide which flexibilities best suit their local needs.

   • CUSTOMIZATION: Districts can create an innovation plan for a level of school (high school, junior high school, etc.), grade level, or a single campus.

   • AUTONOMY: Districts must submit a District of Innovation plan to the Commissioner of Education, but approval is not required.

   • FLEXIBILITY: Districts will have the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools, including exemptions from mandates such as school start date, 90 percent attendance rule, class-size ratios, site-based decision-making processes, certain student discipline provisions, use of planning and preparation periods, and teacher appraisal requirements.


North Hopkins ISD

Proposed District of Innovation Plan (HB 1842)



This is the proposed plan any questions, and or suggestions should be directed to Rob Stanley, 903-945-2192 ext. 8024, Rstanley@northhopkins.net


Date posted: April 24, 2017


North Hopkins ISD is using HB 1842, of the 84th Legislative Session, to establish more local control in certain areas.  HB 1842 allows a traditional public school to have some of the same local flexibility that public charter schools have been allowed.  North Hopkins believes this is a great opportunity for our local district to establish plans based on the unique needs of our students and community.


This Plan will be in effect for the 2017-2018 school year through the 2021-2022 school year.  The committee with approval of the Board of Trustees may amend this plan at any time.



District of Innovation Team


1.  Dr. Darin Jolly                          Superintendent

2.  LeAnn Tadlock                          Elementary Principal

3.  Rob Stanley                               Secondary Principal

4.  Danna Lewis                              School Counselor

5.  Cara Jolly                                  Curriculum Director

6.  Kodi Wright                              Instructional Technology

7.  Tonya Griner                             Elementary Teacher

8.  Debra Wood                              Elementary Teacher

9.  Sherri Hocutt                            Secondary Teacher

10.  Jennifer Lucas                         Secondary Teacher

11. Aime Davidson                         Secondary Teacher

12. Tracey Wharton                        Secondary Teacher

13.  Alma Aguilar                          Parent Representative

14.  J.W. Crane                              Community Member






  1.  Teacher Certification (DK Legal, DK Local, DK Exhibit)


In the event a district cannot locate a certified teacher for a position or a teacher is teaching a subject outside of their certification, the district must submit a request to the Texas Education Agency.  TEA then approves or denies the request.





In order to best serve NHISD students, decisions on certification will be handled locally.


  1. The campus principal may submit to the superintendent a request to allow a certified teacher to teach one subject out of their certified field.  The principal must specify in writing the reason for the request and document what credentials the certified teacher possesses which qualify this individual to teach this subject.


  1. An individual with experience in a CTE field could be eligible to teach a vocational skill or course through a local teaching certificate.  The principal will submit the request to the superintendent with all the individuals credentials.  The superintendent will then approve the request if they feel the individual could be an asset to students.  The superintendent will then report this action to the Board of Trustees prior to the individual beginning any employment.  Local teaching certificates will be for one year.  The employee will be at-will




Assurances:  The District does not wish to be exempted from any existing laws relating to teacher contracts or teacher benefits.




  1. School start date (EB Legal, Ed. Code 25.0811)


Students may not begin school before the 4th Monday of August.  For many years this was the rule, however, districts had the option of applying for a waiver to start earlier.  The vast majority of districts applied for the waiver and would begin the 3rd Monday, some even going as early as the 2nd Monday.  The Texas tourism groups lobbied to have this stopped because they believed it was hurting their tourism business.  Therefore, several years ago the legislature took away all waivers and dictated that districts may not begin until the 4th Monday, with no exceptions.  This will allow the first and second semesters to be closer in the number of days of instruction.  The goal is to improve the district attendance rate and student success through flexibility in the calendar.






To allow for a calendar that fits the local needs of NHISD students and community, we will move the mandatory start date back one week.


  1. Students will begin no earlier that the 3rd Monday of August.