Have you ever thought that some rules that we all live by just don’t make sense? We do too and so do our Texas legislators. For this reason, they passed a bill that permits Texas public school districts to become Districts of Innovation that allow us to seek exemptions from some of the rules we live by called the Texas Education Code. To qualify for those exemptions, Wylie ISD must adopt a plan that details the rules we are requesting exemption. Your input is welcome and vital to the process. After all, this is your district!
These plans are valid for five years from the date of adoption. They may be amended or changed after adoption ONLY with board approval and input from the District of Innovation committee. After five years all sections of the plan must be reviewed and the original adoption process must be followed to renew a plan.
We hope these exemptions will be helpful to all of our families, kids and our faculty/staff who serve them. Our goal is to listen, learn and adapt our plan to reflect the ideas and views of the very people we serve. We are asking trustees to consider the following exemptions which we believe are in the best interests of our Wylie family.
SCHOOL CALENDAR START DATES
Currently, The Texas Education Code says that school cannot begin before the last Monday in August. We are seeking the flexibility to move school start date forward, which will allow Wylie ISD to complete 17/18 Calendar before Memorial Day. (Many of you have expressed this as a priority).
FLEXIBILITY REGARDING (EXPERIENCED) NEW TEACHER CONTRACTS
This is complicated, so you may have to email me with questions about this one. If Wylie ISD hires a teacher who has served in Texas public schools for the last 5 of 8 years, public schools are required to decide if we will renew their contract or part ways after the first year of service. We would like to request that this be extended to two (2) years in certain circumstances. We understand that teaching in Wylie has huge expectations that come with it. We want to provide our new teachers every chance to succeed. This would enable us to more thoroughly and fairly assess an employee’s performance in the instance that a one year probationary period isn’t sufficient to evaluate teacher effectiveness.
PROVIDE FLEXIBILITY FOR OUR KIDS TAKING DUAL CREDIT COURSES
Currently, we have a number of students taking dual credit courses with Collin College. Now, students may have for example, a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class. This makes scheduling difficult as we must have a Tuesday-Thursday class to match so students meet state attendance requirements. This will permit our kids to attend school on calendar which more closely matches the calendar set by Collin College.
HIRE A WELDER TO TEACH WELDING
We are seeking flexibility to employ teachers without teacher certification in areas ONLY associated with Career and Technology Education (CTE) courses. This will allow us to expand our CTE course offerings and provide our students more opportunities in their areas of interest. For example, one of our regional industry demands is for experienced welders. It is occasionally difficult to find certified teachers with practical welding experience. Exemption from teacher certification rules would allow us the flexibility of hiring a master welder who may not be a state certified teacher to teach our students.
WHAT WE DON’T PLAN TO CONSIDER
There are areas that other districts are seeking exemptions to that we will not pursue. For example, the flexibility to employ general education and/or bilingual education teachers without certification, reasonable class size ratios, and the use of planning and preparation periods.
I hope that you find this plan for innovation to be in the best interest of our families, students, and faculty/staff we serve. If you are interested in seeing what other school districts are pursuing and what sort of exemptions are being proposed visit the following link:
Our plan for innovation will be formally considered by the Wylie ISD Board of Trustees in March. If you have questions or ideas, please send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for showing the Wylie Way by taking the time to read this blog and helping us make Wylie ISD such a wonderful place!