Nursery Independent School District
District of Innovation Plan
HB 1842 was passed during the 84
Texas Legislative Session and provides Texas
public school districts the opportunity to be designated as Districts of innovation. To
access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan, as set forth in
the Texas Education Code Chapter 12A.
Districts of Innovation maybe exempted from a number of state statutes and will have:
Great local control as the decision-makers over the educational and instructional
model for students;
Increased freedom and flexibility, with accountability, relative to state mandates
that govern educational programming; and
Empowered to innovate.
Districts are not exempt from statutes including curriculum and graduation
requirements, and academic and financial accountability.
On January 24, 2017, the Nursery Independent School District Board of Trustees
initiated the process by passing a resolution to adopt a District of Innovation plan in
order to support innovation and local initiatives to improve student learning.
On March 29, 2017, the Nursery Independent School District Board of Trustees held a
public hearing for public discussion on whether the district should develop a local
innovation plan for the designation of the District of Innovation. With there being no
objections, the Board of Trustees directed the Superintendent to form a district of
innovation committee to discuss and draft this local innovation plan. The District of
Innovation plan committee met on April 20, 2017 to discuss and develop the plan. A
follow-up meeting to finalize the plan was deemed unnecessary at the conclusion of the
The plan will be posted on the website for 30 days before being presented to the site-
based decision-making committee on May 22, 2017 the plan must be submitted to the
Board of Trustees for final approval at the May 2017 board meeting.
The district of Innovation Plan will become effective in the 2017-2018 school year and
will remain in effect for five years through the 2021-2022 school year, unless terminated
or amended by the Board of Trustees in accordance with the law. The District
Leadership Team will monitor the effectiveness of the plan and recommend to the
Board of Trustees any suggested modifications to the plan.
Timeline / Activity
Activity / Task
January 24, 2017
Board of Trustees passed resolution to initiate
District of Innovation Plan
March 29, 2017
Board of Trustees held public hearing and
appointed committee to the draft the plan
April 20, 2017
Initial meeting of the District of Innovation
committee to discuss and draft District of
innovation plan
Meeting to finalize District of Innovation plan
April 20, 2017
Post District of Innovation plan on Nursery
Independent school district website
May 22, 2017
District site based committee meeting
May Meeting
Board of Trustees vote on District of innovation
Board Approved District of Innovation plan
submitted to the Commissioner of Education
District of Innovation Committee Members
Chris Ulcak
Superintendent Nursery ISD
Neil Stevenson
Board Member (Secretary)
Monica Zimmermann
Matt Modrow
Cheryl Garza
Nikki Weber
The district proposes flexibility in the following areas:
Uniform School Start Date (TEC 25.0811)
Teacher Certification (TEC 21.003)
Submitting Waivers for Kindergarten-Grade 4 Class Size (TEC 25.112, 25.113)
Uniform School Start Date (TEC 25.0811)
Texas Education Code Section 25.0811 states that a school district may not begin
instruction before the fourth Monday in August.
This flexibility of a start date allows the district to determine locally, on an annual basis,
what best meets the needs of the students and community. This flexibility of the start
date offers:
The first and second semesters to be more equal in the number of days of
An early start date permits students additional time prior to state assessments.
Local guidelines
The district will determine, on an annual basis, when each school year will begin.
Teacher Certification (TEC 21.003)
TEC 21.003(a) states a person may not be employed as a teacher, teacher intern or
teacher trainee, librarian, educational aide, administrator, education diagnostician, or
school counselor by a school district unless the person holds an appropriate certificate
or permit issued as provided by Subchapter B.TEC21.057 requires district to provide
written notice to parents when an inappropriately or uncertified teacher is assigned to
the same classroom for more than 30 consecutive instructional days during the same
school year. Texas Education Code Sections 21.003, 21.053, as well as 19 Texas
Administrative Code Chapter 231, limits the ability to hire teachers in highly specialized
or hard-to-fill areas.
In order to best serve Nursery ISD students, decisions on certifications will be handled
at the district level. Due to a limited applicant pool and teacher shortage, this exemption
will allow greater flexibility in staffing in specific areas of need.
Local Guidelines
The Nursery ISD Superintendent/Principal may submit to the Board a request for a
certified teacher to teach a grade or subject(s) out of their certification field. The
superintendent/principal must provide the reason for the request and document the
credentials the certified teacher possesses that qualify the individual to teach this
subject. The superintendent/principal will submit a request to the Board for local
certification and the superintendent/principal must specify the reason for the request
and document the credentials the individual possesses that qualify the individual to
teach the subject area. The Board will approve or deny requests for local certification.
Submitting Waivers for Kindergarten-Grade 4 Class Size (TEC 25.112,
Kindergarten-Grade 4 classes are to be kept at a 22 student to 1 teacher ratio according
to state law. When a class exceeds this limit, the district must complete a waiver with
the Texas Education Agency. Along with the waiver, it is required that a letter is sent
home to each parent in the class that exceeds the 22:1 ratio, informing them that the
waiver has been submitted.
While Nursery ISD believes that a small class size plays a positive role in the
classroom, we do not believe that it has a negative effect when one or two students are
added. It may not be the number of the students in the class but the makeup and
chemistry of the classroom which influences the learning environment. Being exempt
from the 22:1 ratio requirement will allow students to remain with the teacher and
classmates that they began the year with, enabling continuity and stability that will
support increased student achievement.
Local Guidelines
Nursery ISD will attempt to keep K-Grade 4 classrooms to the 22:1 ratio. In the event
the class size exceeds this ratio, the superintendent will report to the Board of Trustees.
A TEA waiver will not be necessary when a K-Grade 4 classroom exceeds the 22:1
The Nursery ISD Innovation Plan is designed to create parameters within which the
District will operate, so as to provide additional student opportunities. Adjustments to
Board Policy will be researched and adopted where appropriate.