District of Innovation

West Orange - Cove CISD to become
District of Innovation; see attached renewed plan

DOI Plan below will be effective May 2022. Posted 3/29/2022.

District of Innovation Plan
“Empowering Lives Through Excellence Everyday”

Strategic Plan Goal 4: We believe a safe and secure environment provides our faculty, staff, and students the peace of mind necessary for the pursuit of excellence.
Class Size and Student/Teacher Ratio Statutes:
§TEC 25.112 – Class Size
§TEC 25.113 – Notification of Waiver
§25.112 addresses the number of students in a single kindergarten, first, second, third, or fourth-grade class and limits that number to 22. This statute intended to ensure that classrooms maintained a small teacher/student ratio under the belief that smaller classes led to improved achievement for students who benefited from more individualized teacher attention. While a state waiver may address the maximum number of students in K-4 classrooms, these waivers are rarely rejected by TEA; therefore, it represents an unnecessary bureaucratic step. In addition, a letter is required to inform parents of the waiver. In many cases, the class has returned to a smaller student-to-teacher ratio before the waiver is even approved, negating the need for this correspondence. Moreover, hiring staff mid-year disrupts the rapport and relationships built, makes it difficult to find highly qualified teachers, and changes the dynamics of the learners. The statute does not consider the impact of transferring students to new classrooms in the middle of the school year.
The philosophy of West Orange-Cove CISD is that lower class sizes positively impact Kindergarten - 4th-grade students; therefore, the district will stay true to the intent of the 22:1 ratio. We believe, however, that appropriate class sizes can be monitored and maintained at the local level without the necessity of waivers from the Texas Education Agency.
• Staffing decisions and teacher needs will be based on projected 22:1 ratios in K-4th grade. West Orange-Cove CISD will continue to begin each school year with enough teachers to establish a homeroom student-to-teacher ratio of 22:1 per Kindergarten-4th grade class.
• In the event that two or more core classrooms in a K-4th grade reach 24:1 during the first grading period of the year, the District will actively seek an additional teacher. By seeking an exception from §25.112, the District would have the flexibility for all campuses and classrooms for the duration of the District of Innovation Designation. It would not be required to seek waivers annually.

School Start Date Statute:
§TEC 25.0811 – First Day of Instruction
A district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August unless the district operates a year-round system. A district may not receive a waiver of this requirement. Using this year’s calendar, with August 1, 2017, being a Tuesday, the start date would not occur for students until August 28. Teachers would be able to start on August 21.
Implementing this statute will result in losing 5 days of instruction in the first semester. Starting one week earlier in August allows for more instructional time before semester exams and more instructional time before state exams. With the approval of this District of Innovation process, we request approval to start sooner than the fourth Monday in August.

Strategic Plan Goal 2: We ensure that every campus and every department develops and understands the
characteristics of the ideal WOCCISD employee.
Certification Required Statutes:
§TEC 21.003, DK Local, DK Legal, 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 this request.
The district will continue to make every attempt to hire individuals with appropriate certification; however, the district may locally grant exceptions to certification requirements in order to best meet the needs of WOCCISD students. For example, but not limited to, an individual with experience in a CTE field could be eligible to teach an industry recognized skill or course through a local teaching certificate. The principal will submit the request to the superintendent with all the individual’s credentials. The superintendent will then approve the request if they feel the individual could be an asset to students.
Probationary Contract Statute:
§21.102 Teacher Employment Contracts
Experienced teachers new to the district have a probationary period that may not exceed one year if the person has been employed as a teacher in public education in Texas for at least five of the previous eight years. This time period is not sufficient to evaluate an employee’s effectiveness.
All contract employees new to WOCCISD that have been employed in public education in Texas for at least five of the eight previous years, may be issued a probationary contract for up to two full school years from the date of district employment. This will allow the district more time to evaluate a staff member’s effectiveness prior to offering a term contract.
Teacher Planning and Preparation Time Statute:
 § TEC 21.404 – Planning and Preparation Time
§21.404 addresses teacher conference and planning times. The intent of the statute was to ensure teachers receive an appropriate and sufficient amount of time to plan instruction. Specifically, the statute states that each classroom teacher is entitled to at least 450 minutes within each two-week period for instructional preparation, including parent-teacher conferences, evaluating students’ work, and planning. A planning and preparation period under this section may not be less than 45 minutes within the instructional day. During a planning and preparation period, a classroom teacher may not be required to participate in any other activity.
West Orange-Cove CISD values and understands the importance of teacher preparation, as it is the foundation of sound, effective instruction. We also recognize the importance of each student receiving instruction from a classroom teacher on a daily basis. Because of the state-wide teacher shortage, many students receive instruction from substitute teachers, and although we appreciate all substitutes, we recognize the importance of each student receiving instruction from a full-time teacher. Therefore, classroom teachers will be able to voluntarily substitute during their personal conference period when a teacher is absent or in a vacant teacher position. The teacher will receive additional compensation for providing those services during their personal conference period. A teacher may not volunteer to substitute more than two days a week during their conference time.
Strategic Plan Goal 1: Promote a positive image
Campus Behavior Coordinator Statute:
 §TEC 37.0012 – Designation of Campus Behavior Coordinator
Senate Bill 107 requires the designation of a campus behavior coordinator on each campus.
(a). A person at each campus must be designated to serve as the campus behavior coordinator. The person designated may be the campus principal or any other campus administrator selected by the principal.
(b). The campus behavior coordinator is primarily responsible for maintaining student discipline and the implementation of this subchapter.
The proposal for WOCCISD is to seek an exemption from the statute requiring each school to have a designated campus behavior coordinator. The relationships between the campus administrator, student, and parent are the foundation for promoting and maintaining positive behavior. Utilizing a local process allows the administrator, who currently has a relationship with the parent and student, to be the person to make parental contact. The administrator notifies the parent of discipline or behavioral concerns rather than having contact made by a designated behavior coordinator, who may or may not know all the students, providing a more individual and personalized approach. 
High School Diploma and Certificate/Course Sequence Texas Education Code §28.025: Statute:
§TEC 28.025
Action by the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature and the rule-making authority of the Texas State Board of Education imposed pre-requisite requirements for high school students taking English IV. Effective August 2016, all students entering high school in the 2014-2015 school year must take English I, II, and III before taking English IV. This is an unnecessary and problematic requirement that adversely impacts students seeking to recover credit and graduate on time or those seeking to accelerate their high school program to graduate early. HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA AND CERTIFICATE. (b-2) In adopting rules under Subsection (b-1), the State Board of Education shall provide for a student to comply with the curriculum requirements for an advanced English course under Subsection (b-1)(1) taken after successful completion of English I, English II, and English III.
Consistent with the WOCCISD District Plan, students can enroll in courses that meet their needs, selected graduation plans, and endorsements. Students and their parents will annually review their course selections and determine which courses and course sequences best meet the needs of each student. Annual guidance will be provided to students and their parents regarding course selections and timing of courses based on graduation plans and endorsements, without the limitations of unnecessary prerequisite course requirements.