DISTRICT NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Christina Courson, Public Information Officer
(512) 398-0033 office
(512) 738-1413 cell
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 1, 2017
District of Innovation Committee Presents Plan to Board of Trustees
Lockhart Independent School District’s District of Innovation (DOI) Committee representatives presented the district’s innovation plan to the Board of Trustees Monday night. Though the Board will not consider the plan for approval until a meeting in April, Monday night’s first reading brought LISD closer to designation as a District of Innovation
In January 2017, the Board adopted a resolution for the district to pursue DOI designation and established a committee of teachers, administrators, and community members to discuss and prioritize district needs and develop a plan of innovation.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Mark Estrada and representatives of the DOI committee presented the plan, including Krystin Feole, a teacher at Clear Fork Elementary, Amanda Soliz, a teacher at Navarro Elementary, Bobby Herzog, a community member, Sheila Henderson, executive director of athletics and UIL, and Deanna Juarez, principal at Lockhart High School.
The most significant feature of the plan is the district’s exercise of local control to strengthen accountability, secure highly skilled teachers for specialized non-core courses, and tailor the academic calendar to better support teacher professional development and planning to boost student learning. “It gives us the ability to think outside the box. It is going to give us a way to make better decisions for our students,” said Herzog, DOI committee member.
Currently, LISD is only allowed to hire teachers with state certification. This presents a barrier in finding certified teachers for specialized classes, particularly in Career and Technology Education courses. This plan removes the exemption for certification to allow the district to employ highly-specialized, skilled individuals within their fields to teach LISD students.
The plan removes the heavy reliance on high-stakes test scores as a measure for teacher evaluations and makes plans for the district to develop an appraisal system for teachers that places more emphasis on teaching and learning rather than state tests.
The plan expands opportunities within the district’s academic calendar for teachers to engage in professional development, collaboration, and individual teacher planning to strengthen instruction and boost student learning. It also balances the semesters for students, with the first semester ending at Christmas break.
Initially concerned about how the DOI designation might impact teachers, committee member Feole expressed support for the plan stating, “I like the language of it. I like that everything has to be transparent, public, and open. I am comfortable with this.”
Superintendent Susan Bohn thanked the Board at the conclusion of the presentation. “I appreciate the Board speaking out and saying we do want to innovate, we want to take local control, and we want to do what is best for our kids here in Lockhart ISD,” said Bohn.
The plan is posted on the district website for public review and comment for a period of 30 days. Comments and questions may be sent to DOI@lockhart.txed.net. The plan will go for approval by the District Advisory Committee (DAC) April 10 before going to the Board of Trustees immediately after the DAC meeting that evening.