District of Innovation

Things To Know About The District Of Innovation Opportunity In Humble ISD

In HUMBLE ISD, we are committed to Every Child.

On June 21st, 2016 the Board of Trustees approved a resolution to explore the opportunity for HUMBLE ISD to become a District of Innovation. The Board passed this resolution based on its:

  • commitment to the success of Every Child;

  • long-standing practice of supporting innovation for the benefit of students; and,

  • belief that it can be a better decision-making body for students when it has freedom to exercise local control over the decision-making process. 

What do we know about the District of Innovation (DI) Opportunity?
HB 1842 was passed during the 84th Texas Legislative Session in Spring, 2015, and provides Texas public school districts the opportunity to be designated as Districts of Innovation.

Districts of Innovation may be exempted from a number of state statutes and will have:

  • greater 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

  • Empowerment to innovate and think differently.

What’s the process for becoming a District of Innovation?
In HUMBLE ISD, the DI process will align with the District’s strategic planning process and annual budget development process.
A high level overview of the proposed timeline is as follows:

  • The Board of Trustees passes a resolution to study the concept and opportunities provided under the District of Innovation legislation (HB1842) June 21st, 2016.

  • The District Improvement Team (DIT) is acquainted with the DI opportunity on June 21st, 2016.

  • The Board of Trustees holds a public hearing and appoints a District Level Committee (DLC) to develop a Local Innovation Plan (LIP) on June 21st, 2016.

  • A Local Innovation Plan (LIP) is developed by a stakeholder committee appointed by the HUMBLE ISD Board of Trustees. The process includes feedback loops with the Board of Trustees and DIT.

  • The DIT holds a public hearing at which time it considers and then takes vote on LIP June 21st, 2016.

  • The Board of Trustees votes to notify the Texas Education Agency Commissioner of its intention to vote on adopting final LIP on June 21st, 2016.

  • The LIP is posted on the district website for at least 30 days by July 8th 2016.

  • Board of Trustees votes to adopt final LIP on August 8th2016.

Where should questions/comments about the District of Innovation opportunity be directed?
Please direct all questions/comments regarding the District of Innovation opportunity to Melissa Hayhurst, Executive Director Assessment & Authentic Learning at 281-641-8300.

District of Innovation Plan

Previous Amendments

Committee Meetings

Public Notice Posting - District Decision Making Committee Meeting

Date:   Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Time:   6:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual Meeting

Public Notice Posting - District Decision Making Committee Meeting

Date:   Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Time:   6:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual Meeting

Agenda: August 31, 2021 Agenda & Minutes
Video: August 31, 2021 DDM Zoom


FAQs about Humble ISD’s District of Innovation Plan

Thank you for providing input into Humble ISD’s District of Innovation Plan by submitting a question or concern online. This FAQ document was developed in response to submitted comments.

Q. Why is it called District of Innovation?
The first thing to know about Humble ISD’s District of Innovation plan is that it is NOT innovative for our district. Humble ISD’s plan is not about doing new and different things. It is about receiving Texas Education Agency (TEA) approval to keep long-standing practices in place here. It is called “District of Innovation” because that term is required by the state.

Q. What prompted the development of the plan?
On May 20, 2016, Humble ISD was notified that the waiver submitted for Early Release and Late Arrival days had been denied. Superintendent Dr. Guy Sconzo was advised that districts must now go through the District of Innovation process rather than the waiver process.

Q. What areas are included in the plan developed by Humble ISD?
Length of the Instructional Day – The district must become a District of Innovation in order to receive flexibility for holding school less than seven hours on Early Release and Late Arrival days.

Teacher Certification for Career and Technical Education Instructors – Humble ISD is seeking the flexibility to employ instructors who lack teacher certification, but possess industry experience, for certain courses where a quality certified teacher is unavailable. This exemption would only apply to career tech classes, such as welding, nursing or law enforcement.

Class Size and Notice of Class Size –Every year, Humble ISD seeks class size waivers. The district included class size in its Innovation Plan because it historically seeks waivers.

Q. Can the district’s plan be amended in the future? Can other exemptions be added?
Humble ISD must limit itself to exemptions specifically listed in its plan. There are no plans to make changes beyond the scope of this plan.  

The District of Innovation plan could only be changed in the future IF the district was to undertake a process involving a public hearing, public meetings, and posting on the district website for 30 days. There can be no changes without public communication, input and transparency.

Q. Who suggested the District of Innovation Plan?
Superintendent Dr. Guy Sconzo recommended it to the School Board on June 21, 2016.  The plan was developed by a committee that met on June 30, 2016. A public meeting on the plan is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2016.

Q. Under the plan, how large will classes be at elementary schools?
Almost all classes in grades K-3 would have 22 or fewer students. Almost all classes in grades 4 would have 24 or fewer students. Almost all classes in grade 5 would have 25 or fewer students. This has been the district’s practice. Humble ISD sought waivers for three elementary school classrooms in 2015-2016, 36 elementary classrooms in 2014-2015, and six elementary classrooms in 2013-2014. There are more than 450 elementary school classrooms districtwide.

Q. Why can’t Humble ISD adhere to a strict ratio of 22-to-1 for grades K-4?
Students move in throughout the school year. When a student moves in and a class size exceeds the cap, it is not always in the best interest of children to hire a new teacher and create a new class just because of one more student.

The children in the existing class have already formed a relationship with their teacher and each other. Also, children are best served by a highly-qualified teacher and an excellent teacher candidate may not be immediately available, especially after the school year has already begun.

Humble ISD will provide extra support for classes exceeding 22 in grades K-3, and 24 in grade 4, by a.) hiring a teacher and splitting the class, or b.) hiring a teacher or classroom aide to provide individualized instruction within the existing class.

Principals can make the most child-centered decision when allowed flexibility to determine what should be done on a classroom-by-classroom basis. This plan would allow that flexibility.

Q. Under the plan, how big will class sizes be in in grades 5-12?
The plan does not address class sizes in grades 5 -12 because the state does not limit class sizes for grades 5-12. Class sizes for grade 5-12 are a local, and not a state, decision. Therefore, no exemption is needed.

In Humble ISD, class sizes in grades 5-12 would remain the same regardless of District of Innovation status. Almost all fifth grade classes have 25 or fewer students. Most middle and high school classes have about 30 students, although class size varies by subject and student elective choice.

Humble ISD hires one teacher for every 25 students in grade 5, 27.5 students in grade 6-8, and 28.5 students in grades 9-12. These ratios do not include the special education teachers who are hired in addition to provide specialized instruction.

Q. Would this plan allow teachers without certification to be hired for academic classes?
No. The plan only exempts teacher certification for career-tech courses. Career-tech classes are electives beginning in middle school.

Q. Could Humble ISD seek these exemptions another way?
Exemptions to class size and career-tech teaching credentials could be addressed by other procedures, but rules related to those procedures are subject to change. Becoming a District of Innovation will allow Humble ISD to provide students, parents and staff consistent quality.

Q. Can a district amend, renew or rescind its plan?
Yes, a district may do amend, renew or rescind its plan at any time if the action is approved by a majority vote of the district-level committee established under Texas Education Code (TEC) 11.51 (Humble ISD District Decision Making Committee)  and a two-thirds majority vote of the board of trustees.

Q. Does amending a plan change the term of designation or require review of previously adopted exemptions?
An amendment to an approved plan does not change the date of the term of designation as an innovation district. Exemptions that were already formally approved are not required to be reviewed.