Aledo ISD is four months into the process of becoming a District of Innovation and will hold a public hearing at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 9 at the administration building.

The DOI Committee — made up of teachers, administrators and parents/community members — finalized a draft plan with four proposed exemptions, which was posted on the AISD website on Nov. 16 and sent out in an email to parents and staff to request feedback.

“We had one comment we received and we reviewed that comment and decided in our DOI meeting that we didn’t need to make any changes based on the feedback we received to our plan,” AISD Deputy Superintendent Lynn McKinney said. “But based on that comment we had a long discussion about how we want to be sure we communicate with parents and with all of our stakeholders as we move forward about what those [proposed] exemptions are.”

The four exemptions include teacher and principal evaluation customizations, desiring to be exempted from the Student Growth Measure and seeking flexibility within the recommended Texas appraisal process for teachers and administrators; flexibility to hire professionals in specialized trades and vocations to teach identified Career and Technical Education courses and native speakers to teach languages other than English courses if certified teachers are not available; a more collaborative approach to behavior management through the use of a disciplinary committee and a coordinated team of professionals to address student behavior needs; and a more flexible school calendar to allow for more timely and meaningful staff development and to allow for access to more qualified educators.

“The calendar has been posted and will be up through Jan. 11 for public comment,” AISD Superintendent Dr. Susan K. Bohn said. “The calendar is a little different than it has been in the past because it’s a District of Innovation-looking calendar.”

AISD published the proposed 2019-20 school calendar this week seeking feedback from the community. The changes include moving to a nine-week grading period, away from the current six-week grading period; starting and ending the school year earlier, proposed start date of Aug. 14 with an end date of May 21; and adding more professional learning days for staff. 

“On Jan. 9 we will be holding a public hearing where we will have the [DOI] committee together and hear any folks who want to come in and share public comments with us,” McKinney said. “At that meeting, if we do have people who come and share information with us, we will consider the information as a committee and once again discuss if there are any changes we need to make or if there’s anything to adjust. If not, then that afternoon the District of Innovation Committee will take a formalized vote on whether or not to bring our draft plan to the board. The committee is very excited about the work they’ve done on the proposed plan, it’s been a great process.”

After the public hearing, the board of trustees is scheduled to vote on whether to approve or not approve the finalized DOI plan at the Feb. 19 meeting. A two-thirds majority vote is required for approval and, if approved, the commissioner will be notified the next day. 

“I just appreciate all the hard work and hours y’all put into doing this,” AISD Board Secretary Forrest Collins said. “It’s amazing how much you commit to this.”

More details about AISD’s DOI can be found on the district’s website at www.aledoisd.org and to provide feedback on the proposed school calendar, email calendarfeedback@aledoisd.org