Post date: Jan 23, 2017 2:57:26 P.M. Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 9:35:00 A.M.



District of Innovation Renewal Plan (HB 1842)


Arp ISD is utilizing HB 1842, of the 84h Legislative Session, in order to have more local control in certain areas. HB 1842 allows a traditional public school to have some of the same local flexibility that public charter schools have always been allowed. We feel this is a great opportunity for our local district to tailor plans based on the needs of our students and community. This plan will be in effect for the 2022-2023 school year through the 2026-2027 school year. This plan may be amended at any time by the committee with approval of the Board of Trustees.

District of Innovation Committee

  1. John S. Arrington Arp ISD Superintendent

  2. Jill Spearman Arp ISD CFO/Business Manager

  3. Laramie Allen Arp ISD Network Administrator

  4. Mike Miller Arp High School Principal

  5. Donna Lowery Arp ISD Secondary Assistant Principal

  6. Jason Shieldes Arp Junior High School Principal

  7. Stephanie Schminkey Arp Elementary Principal

  8. Beth Hines Arp Elementary Assistant Principal

  9. Hayley McClendon Arp High School Teacher

  10. Tiffany Ellis Arp Junior High School Teacher

  11. Cristi Flowers Arp Elementary Teacher

  12. Kisha Tyiska Arp High School Parent

  13. Hillary Bryand Arp Junior High School Parent

  14. Tamara Rhoades Arp Elementary Parent

Arp Independent School District

District of Innovation Timeline

Monday, November 8, 2021

Initial meeting with the administrative team to discuss DOI renewal, possible exemptions, and possible new members of the District Innovation Committee. The District of Innovation Committee will consist of:

  • Superintendent

  • Administrative Staff

  • Principals from each Campus

  • One teacher from each campus

  • One parent from each campus

Monday, November 8, 2021

  • Discussion held at Board meeting with the intent to renew Arp ISD DOI plan.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

4:00 p.m. - Meeting of the District Innovation Committee

  • Educate them about HB 1842 and District of Innovation

  • Discuss current and new DOI provisions

  • Decide which provisions to pursue and/or exclude on our renewal plan

  • Majority vote in favor of DOI renewal and the addition of Bank Depository Contract Term Provision

Monday, December 6, 2021

  • Post proposed Arp ISD District of Innovation renewal plan on the district website for thirty days. Send Plan and DOI Timeline to the Commissioner’s Office.

Monday, February 7, 2022

6:10 p.m. - Public Hearing

  • Explain and discuss the renewal of the Arp ISD District of Innovation Plan.

  • Adjourn

6:30 p.m. - Regular Board Meeting

  • Consider a motion to renew local “District of Innovation” plan with the addition of the Bank Depository Contract Term Provision

  • Adjourn

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

  • Send notification to the Commissioner of Education of Board’s on approval of the District of Innovation Plan.

  • Update all policy changes with TASB.

Monday,, February 21, 2021

  • Arp ISD shall post the final DOI plan on its website and provide TEA with a link to the plan.

*If approved, the DOI plan will be in effect for up to five years. Completed to date.

Texas Education Code exemptions required for the fulfillment of the goals upon adoption by the District of Innovation Plan. Under HB 1842, districts may identify certain requirements imposed by the Texas Education Code (TEC) that “inhibit the goals of the plan from which the district should be exempted on adoption of the plan”. Given the comprehensive education program of Arp ISD and the necessity for local control in decision making of the plan elements, Arp ISD seeks exemption for all allowable TEC requirements under the HB 1842 statute. The following exemptions are highlighted as possible examples, but not all inclusive.

  1. School Start Date

(EB LEGAL)(Ed. Code 25.0811)


Students may not begin school before the 4th Monday of August. For many years this was the rule, however, districts had the option of applying for a waiver to start earlier. The vast majority of districts applied for the waiver and would begin the 3rd Monday, some even going as early as the 2nd Monday.

The Texas tourism groups lobbied to have this stopped because they believed it was hurting their tourism business. Therefore, several years ago the legislature took away all waivers and dictated that districts may not begin until the 4th Monday, with no exceptions.

Proposed Renewal

To allow for a calendar that fits the local needs of our community, we would like to consider moving the earliest mandatory start date back to the second Monday in August, which would better benefit our students.

  1. Flexibility to begin instruction earlier in the calendar year. This will enable the District to improve active learning by balancing the amount of instructional time in the semesters, which will allow teachers to better pace and deliver instruction before and after the winter break. In addition, by having the flexibility to start and end the school year earlier, students will be able to enroll in college courses that start in early June, thereby increasing college and career readiness.

  1. This will allow the first semester to end before the winter break, which in turn, will allow students to take semester exams before the two+ weeks layoff from school during the break. Many students do poorly on first semester exams after a long lay-off from school.

  1. The goal is to improve the district attendance rate and student success through flexibility in the calendar.

  1. Submitting waivers for Kindergarten - Grade 4 class size

(EEB LEGAL)(Ed. Code 25.111)(Ed. Code 25.112)(Ed. Code 25.113)


Kindergarten - 4th Grade classes are to be kept at a 22 students to 1 teacher ratio according to state law. When a class exceeds this limit, the district must complete a waiver with the Texas Education Agency. These waivers are never rejected by TEA. This is a bureaucratic step that serves no purpose.

Along with the waiver, it is required that a letter is sent home to each parent in the section that exceeds the 22:1 ratio, informing them the waiver has been submitted. Many times it is not the number of the students but the makeup and chemistry of the classroom which influence the learning environment.

Proposed Renewal

  1. AISD will attempt to keep all K-4th core classrooms to a 22:1 ratio. However, in the event the class size exceeds this ratio, the superintendent will report to the Board of Trustees.

  1. In the event a K-4th core classroom reaches 25:1, the campus will notify the parents of the students in the classroom and inform them of the situation.

  1. A TEA waiver will not be necessary when a K-4th classroom exceeds the 22:1 ratio.

  1. This gives AISD the flexibility without having the bureaucracy of waivers within the Texas Education Agency.

  1. Teacher certification



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. There is a lot of bureaucracy and unnecessary paperwork involved in the process.

Proposed Renewal

In order to best serve AISD students, decisions on certification will be handled locally.

By renewing exemption from existing teacher certification requirements for dual credit,

career and technical/STEAM, and hard to fill content teachers, the district will have the flexibility in providing our students an opportunity they may not have otherwise been afforded.

  1. The campus principal may submit to the superintendent a request to allow a certified teacher to teach one subject out of their certified field. The principal must specify in writing the reason for the request and document what credentials the certified teacher possesses which qualify this individual to teach this subject.

  1. The district will have the flexibility to hire credentialed community college instructors or university professors in specific content areas in order to afford more students the opportunity to take dual credit courses if certified teachers are not available to teach those courses. The campus principal will submit the request to the superintendent to allow the hiring of the credentialed community college instructor or university professor.

  1. An individual with experience in a CTE field could be eligible to teach a vocational 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. The superintendent will then report this action to the Board of Trustees prior to the individual beginning any employment. Local teaching certificates will be for one year. The employee will be at-will.

  1. This will allow more flexibility in our scheduling and more options for our students in class offerings.

4. Probationary Contracts

(DCA Legal)(Ed. Code 21.102)


A probationary contract may not exceed one year for new teachers to our district who have been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of the eight years preceding employment by the district. Under this circumstance, the district must either give the teacher a term contract or terminate their contract after their first year in the district.

Proposed Renewal

Arp ISD would like to continue with the ability to renew the probationary contract for two additional one-year periods, for a maximum of three school years, for all teachers that are new to the district who have been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of eight preceding employment by the District.

5. Minimum Attendance for Class Credit or Final Credit

(Ed. Code 25.092)


Under current law, to qualify for class credit, students must attend school for a minimum of 90% of the school days. In other words, the law requires the District to award class credit to students based on “seat time” rather than based on content mastery.

Proposed Renewal

Renewing the exemption from this requirement will provide educational advantages to students of the District by promoting active learning through innovation in the methods, locations, and times instruction may be delivered to students, thereby accommodating students with legitimate scheduling conflicts, reducing dropouts, and increasing the number of qualifying graduates.

One of the overarching goals in the Strategic Plan within the focus area of providing engaging and challenging learning is to implement tools, resources, and training that support blended and personalized learning for both students and teachers. Blended learning, where instruction is delivered through a combination of time in class and time spent learning online, is one example where exemption from Section 25.092 will likely foster greater innovation to promote active learning and improve student outcomes. In addition, exemption from this requirement will allow the District not to penalize students who miss class due to legitimate school activities and will promote student engagement, as well as social and emotional development, by encouraging more students to participate in such activities.

It will always be a District goal to have all students attend school at the highest possible rate. However, it is understood that there will be circumstances that may hamper a student’s ability to meet the current 90% attendance rule. We would like to have the ability to develop an innovative plan to work with students to give each one of them the greatest opportunity to succeed while at Arp ISD.

Relief from Section 25.092 does not in any way impact or alter existing compulsory attendance requirements or University Interscholastic League (UIL) rules. Moreover, opting out of Section 25.092 in no way limits or modifies a teacher’s right to determine the finality of a grade in accordance with Texas Education Code Section 28.0214, nor does it restrict or alter a teacher’s right to assign grades in accordance with Texas Education Code Section 28.0216.

6. Length (number of days) of Teacher Contracts

(DC Legal)(DEA Legal)(Ed. Code 21.401)


Under current education law, a teacher’s contract is 10-months or more specifically, 187 days in length.

Proposed Renewal

Arp ISD would like to renew its ability to set its teacher contract days from a range of 182 to 187 days with no negative effect on teacher salaries. This reduction in contract days of up to five days would make our salaries more competitive.

  1. This plan will increase the daily rate of district teachers.

  1. This plan should enhance our ability to recruit teachers to our district.

  1. This plan will provide our teachers more flexibility during the summer months to find professional development opportunities that, personally, benefits them.

  1. In each year of the plan, the exact number of days (up to 187) a teacher’s contract may be will be determined by the calendar planning committee. The minimum number of days a 10-month teacher’s contract will be is 182 days, and the maximum it will be is 187 days.

7. BANK DEPOSITORY CONTRACT TERM (* addition to current DOI plan)

(TEC 45.205) (TEC 45.206) (BDAE LEGAL, BDAE LOCAL)

Currently: The depository for the District shall serve for a term of two years and until its successor is selected and has qualified. A district and its depository bank may agree to extend the contract for two additional two-year terms. The contract term and any extension must

coincide with the district’s fiscal year. An extension is not subject to the requirements of Education Code 45.206, Education Code 45.205 and Education Code 45.204.

Proposed: An exemption from these statutes will allow the district’s existing bank contract to be

extended beyond the total 6-year allowable contract term if the district determines contract pricing remains competitive and there is no operational or financial reason to send the district’s banking services out for bid. This exemption lessens the administrative burden related to preparing and reviewing a Request for Proposal when there is a limited number of banking institutions available to bid on the district’s business. This will further mitigate any impact to employees that would have to change direct deposit instructions each time a new depository occurs and allows the district flexibility with respect to banking relationships. The time saved by the Superintendent and the Board of Trustees by not having to deal with this ministerial duty every two years will allow the Superintendent and the Board more time for studying and planning for student progress, instructional strategies, and innovative options for the

district’s educational goals. Arp ISD will continue to use the local depository for the District without rebidding as follows:

a.) At the end of each two-year term, the District and its depository bank may agree to extend

the contract for multiple two additional year periods.

b.) The District must review the contract to ensure the best value and support for the District and

obtain Board approval for each of the two-year periods.

c.) Nothing in this process would hinder the District’s ability to undertake bidding on the District

Depository Bank at the end of any of the two-year periods. Further, this entire Innovation

Plan must be reviewed and renewed at the end of five years, including this provision.