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Dear HISD Parent:

In HISD, we believe that every child should have equitable opportunities and access to an effective and personalized education in a nurturing and safe environment. Our students will graduate as critical thinkers and problem solvers; they will know and understand how to be successful in a global society.

In order to continue to progress towards accomplishing this vision of success that we have for every student, HISD trustees will be voting on a resolution to consider joining 891 other districts across the state of Texas in becoming a District of Innovation.

By adopting a District of Innovation status, HISD could exercise greater local control over decisions impacting educational outcomes for students by choosing to exempt itself from specific statutes in the Texas Education Code.

While districts across the state have implemented District of Innovation in a variety of ways, the HISD administration, in partnership with the Board of Education, is only recommending exemptions related to the following statutes:

  1. The law prohibiting the District beginning instruction before the fourth Monday in August
  2. Laws that limit the ability of the District to hire professionals in certain trades and vocations to teach Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses
  3. Laws related to the Minimum Attendance for Class Credit or Final Grade (90% attendance rule)
  4. Laws related to the Minimum Minutes of Instruction (the 75,600-minute rule).

The process for becoming a District of Innovation requires – and will include – collaboration, participation and feedback from our staff, parents, students, and community members. Given the new educational environment that we are entering as a result of the COVID-19 health emergency, we want to ensure that HISD has the flexibility to implement creative, innovative solutions that best meet the needs of our student populations, faculty, and staff.

If the Board of Education approves the resolution to initiate the District of Innovation process, it will then hold a public hearing to decide whether to proceed. If trustees choose to proceed, the next step will be for the Board of Education to appoint an Innovation Plan Committee charged with drafting the plan.

Once the final plan is drafted, it will be posted publicly, and voted on by the District Advisory Committee, before returning to the Board of Education for a final vote. Throughout this process, we look forward to engaging with the community to ensure that our diverse stakeholder voices are recognized.

We will continue to work diligently to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all HISD students. In this time of unprecedented challenge, we must explore every option to better support the educational demands of our students and families. Pursuing the District of Innovation designation is another step towards the vision of success that we share as a District and as a community.

Thank you for your support. We will continue to provide you with updates as it relates to the District of Innovation process.


Grenita F. Lathan, Ph.D.
HISD Interim Superintendent