District Local Innovation Plan

  • I. Introduction

    House Bill 1842, passed during the 84th Legislative Session, provides the opportunity for Texas public school districts to pursue the designation of District of Innovation. This allows local school districts to obtain exemptions from certain provisions of the Texas Education Code to allow more flexibility and local control for innovative programming. Grand Prairie ISD became a District of Innovation with its approved Local Innovation Plan on July 21, 2016. Based on the requirements of the Texas Education Code, Chapter 12A, and its implementing regulations, Texas public school districts are required to renew their District of Innovation status every five years. Grand Prairie ISD renewed its plan for 2021–2026. As a District of Innovation, Grand Prairie ISD has more local control and support for innovation and local initiatives that support our students.

    The Local Innovation Committee convened on June 8, 2021 to review the plan and provide any feedback for recommendations to the School Board regarding renewal of the plan. On June 8, 2021, a Public Hearing was held to allow the public to learn more about the designation and provide feedback on the renewal of the Local Innovation Plan. The Local Innovation Committee voted unanimously to renew the Local Innovation Plan for an additional five-year period. The plan was posted online for 30 days for public consideration. The renewal of the Local Innovation Plan was approved by the Board for approval on July 15, 2021.

    Comments (-1)
  • II. Term

    The term of the Local Innovation Plan will begin at the start of the 2021-2022 school year and end at the end of the 2025-2026 school year, unless terminated or amended earlier by the Board of Trustees in accordance with the law. The committee will revisit the plan as needed to ensure that the recommendations are still in line with the needs of the district. Any changes recommended would be on the website for 30 days and require approval of the Local Innovation Committee and the School Board.

    Innovation Committee Members

    Tammy Bratton Community Member/Parent
    Wendell Davidson Community Member/Parent
    Elvira Armendariz Community Member/Parent
    Lupe Salazar Community Member/Parent
    Laigha Boyle Campus Leader
    Larry Jones Campus Leader
    Mary Smith Campus Leader
    Holly Mohler Campus Leader
    Felicia Layne Campus Leader
    Joetta Wesley Campus Leader
    Ana Holland Campus Leader
    Megan Hunt Classroom Teacher, District Teacher of the Year
    Mary Cavasos Classroom Teacher, District Teacher of the Year
    Twila Read Counselor, TCTA Representative
    Mary Grafflin Classroom Teacher, ATPE Representative
    Dorris Hill Classroom Teacher, TSTA Representative
    Laura Morales Classroom Teacher
    Lee Davis Classroom Teacher
    Joanna Vidales Classroom Teacher
    Jennifer Jordan Classroom Teacher
    Donna Grant Area Superintendent
    Elna Davis Area Superintendent Local
    Rich Laffey Director of Student Support
    Traci Davis Area Superintendent/Innovation Officer
    Susanna Ramirez Assistant Superintendent of Student Support
    Patricia Lewis Associate Superintendent of School Improvement
    Tracy Ray Chief Financial Officer
    Dr. Loraine Whitley Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Partnerships
    Aniska Douglas Interim Director of CTE
    Teri Wilson Chief of Staff
    Angela Herron Chief of Teaching and Learning
    Ad Hoc Members
    Linda Ellis Superintendent
    Melissa Kates General Counsel
    Vern Alexander Deputy Superintendent
    Karry Chapman Chief of Human Capital
    Comments (-1)
  • III. Continual Improvement

    The Local Innovation Plan is guided by and aligned with the Board’s Vision, Mission, Strategic Priorities, and Strategic Plan for the District as follows:

    Mission Statement

    We will ensure student success through engaging learning experiences, collaborative leadership, and a focus on maximizing student achievement.

    Vision Statement

    We are a learning community vigorously pursuing student success.

    GPISD Goals

    • Maximization of Student Achievement
    • Exercise Responsible Fiscal Oversight
    • Develop Leadership Capacity
    • Promote 21st Century Learners who are College and Career Ready

    GPISD Leadership Definition

    GPISD Leadership Definition


    Innovations Recommended:

    The GPISD School Board and the Local Innovation Committee considered all areas available for local innovation and decided to create a plan that centers around four areas:

    Class Size in Kindergarten through 4th Grade:

    TEC Code Requiring Exemption:

    • Sec. 25.112. Except as otherwise authorized by this section, a school district may not enroll more than 22 students in a kindergarten, first, second, third, or fourth grade class.

    Benefit of Exemption for GPISD:

    • Schools begin the school year with staff based on projections of student enrollment. Often, enrollment will exceed projections for one school while under projections for another school. As a result, teachers and/or students must be moved from class to class or school to school to meet the 22-to-1 requirement. As a result, students leave behind friends and teacher relationships that have already formed.
    • Being exempt from the inflexible 22-to-1 requirement will allow students to remain with the teacher and classmates that they began the year with, fostering continuity and stability which will support increased student achievement.
    • Incoming students can remain in their preferred or neighborhood school rather than have to be transported to a different campus.
    • Districts will not be forced to hire new teachers not accounted for in the Local Board’s adopted Budget.

    Local Guidelines:

    • The District will strive to keep class sizes at 22:1, with the flexibility to go above 22:1 if needed:
      • If the student/teacher ratio averaged across a grade level needs to go over 23:1, it must have both administrator and teacher approval.
      • If the student/teacher ratio averaged across a grade level needs to go over 24:1, parents of all students in each affected class, and the School Board will be notified.

    First Day of Instruction:

    TEC Code Requiring Exemption:

    • TEC 25.0811: A school district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August.

    Benefit of Exemption for GPISD:

    • District Education Improvement Committee will have the flexibility to start school earlier for either the entire District or individual campuses.
    • Starting school earlier will balance the two semesters with a natural Winter Break, set exams prior to Winter Break, and create more instructional time before STAAR/EOC/AP exams.
    • The balanced semesters will align with college semesters as well, allowing more opportunities for summer school, internships, and industrial certification opportunities.
    • Starting school earlier will also accommodate new and innovative educational models such as summer bridge programming.

    Local Guidelines:

    • The District Education Improvement Committee will receive parent and staff input, then decide, subject to School Board approval, the first day of instruction for students. It is preferred that the first day of instruction be no earlier than the second week of August.

    Teacher Certification:

    TEC Code Requiring Exemption:

    • TEC 21.003 requires that a person may not be employed as a teacher by a district unless the person holds an appropriate certification or permit issued by the appropriate state agency.

    Benefit of Exemption for GPISD:

    • The statutory certification requirements inhibit the District's ability to hire professionals with industry experience to teach Career and Technical Education (CTE) and STEM Courses.
    • Local Qualifications will allow the district to:
      • Recruit teachers from the field, including individuals from certain trades and/or vocations with industry knowledge and real world experience
      • Offer dual credit opportunities in CTE courses
      • Hire community college instructors

    Local Guidelines

    • The District will establish Local Criteria, such as years of experience, qualifications, and industry certifications, to qualify for a local (district) teaching certificate.
    • Principals, along with the CTE department, will submit candidates to the Superintendent with credentials. The Superintendent will determine whether it is in the best interest of the district to certify the individual. The Superintendent will notify the Board prior to beginning employment.

    Minimum Minutes of Instruction:

    TEC Code Requiring Exemption:

    • TEC Code 25.081 (HB 2610): For each school Year, each school district must operate so that the district provides for at least 75,600 minutes of instruction, including intermissions and recesses.

    Pre-Kindergarten Exemption:

    Benefits for GPISD PK/PPCD Program:

    • The state requires 75,600 minutes for full day programming. For half-day programs such as PK and PPCD the required minute requirement would be 37,800 minutes. There is not enough time in the day to be able to accommodate 37,800 minutes for both a morning and afternoon group of students in our 170 day calendar. We would like to request that we be allowed to offer a 210 minute school day for half-day programs. This will allow each teacher to have a morning and an afternoon group of students along with their conference period and duty free lunch within the regular school day. This 210 minute exemption will result in the students receiving 35,700 minutes of instruction during their half day program.

    Local Guidelines for PK/PPCD Program:

    • GPISD will offer a PK schedule consisting of two three-hour sessions of 210 minutes, which allows each teacher to teach two groups of students while still having the required conference period and 30-minute duty free lunch.

    Alternative Education Setting Exemption:

    Benefits for GPISD Alternative Campuses (ie. Crosswinds)

    • Being exempt from the minimum minutes requirement will permit the District to offer alternative programming with fewer minutes that focuses on quality programming and cost savings, designed to fit the needs of these at-risk students without having to apply for an annual waiver.
    • Campuses such as Crosswinds offer an alternative education program designed to meet the needs of non-traditional students. This program offers an opportunity for students to accelerate credit attainment, acquire credits at a faster rate, and mitigate credit deficiencies. Crosswinds High School provides an alternate route to graduation for students who have not been successful in the traditional school due to special challenges. These challenges include (but are not limited to) parent or parenting students; over-age students; family hardships created by economic situations that result in the student having to work instead of attend school; being credit deficient for various reasons; and/or having difficulty passing STAAR End-of-Course exams.

    Local Guidelines for Alternative Campuses:

    • Crosswinds High School will offer three options for students choosing an alternative setting.
    • Option 1: Students attend a 4 hour school window daily, three 70 minute courses.
    • Option 2: Students attend full day sessions to have days off throughout the week to work and/or care for their families.
    • Option 3: Evening School Option
      • M-TH: 5:30 PM-8:00 PM
      • Students will be enrolled in one session and will be required to attend daily and meet district attendance guidelines. Students will have the opportunity to attend an additional session to accumulate attendance time and credits.
    Comments (-1)
  • Questions or Comments?

    The District is posting for the public’s consideration the renewal of the Local Innovation Plan 2016-2021 for another five years. If you would like to comment regarding the renewal of the Local Innovation Plan 2021-2026, please email your comments to communications@gpisd.org.

    Comments (-1)