• SISD District of Innovation logo

    Silsbee ISD District of Innovation Plan

    Effective January 2020 – January 2024

    PROPOSED INNOVATION 

    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.

    Innovation for Silsbee ISD

    An exemption to this statute will provide the opportunity to develop a school calendar that positively impacts students by:

    • Balancing the disparity in the number of instructional days in each semester.
    • Ending the first semester by Christmas break so that final exams for high school students do not extend beyond the break.
    • Matching Silsbee ISD semesters to coincide with the calendar of colleges from which students are taking dual credit courses.
    • Providing flexibility for students to enroll in summer school, internships, employment, and professional certification experiences.
    • Allowing for more instruction time prior to state-mandated testing and retesting, as well as AP and SAT testing.  

    This exemption will also support teacher growth by:

    • Supporting the adult learning model by providing ongoing professional development throughout the year   
    • Allowing staff to prepare for the school year by decreasing the amount of professional development in August  

    Implementation Considerations

    • The Silsbee ISD calendar committee will convene annually to collaboratively develop and recommend a district calendar that is designed to promote the effective delivery of classroom instruction and school/district operations.   
    • Teacher contracts will remain at 187 days.  

    PROPOSED INNOVATION

    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 State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC).
    • TEC §21.0031. FAILURE TO OBTAIN CERTIFICATION; CONTRACT VOID. (a) An employee's probationary, continuing, or term contract under this chapter is void if the employee: (1) does not hold a valid certificate or permit issued by the State Board for Educator Certification; (2) fails to fulfill the requirements necessary to renew or extend the employee's temporary, probationary, or emergency certificate or any other certificate or permit issued.
    • TEC §21.053. PRESENTATION AND RECORDING OF CERTIFICATES. (a) A person who desires to teach in a public school shall present the person's certificate for filing with the employing district before the person's contract with the board of trustees of the district is binding. (b) An educator who does not hold a valid certificate may not be paid for teaching or work done before the effective date of issuance of a valid certificate.
    • TEC §21.055 states that if a teacher is not certified, the District may issue a teaching permit to employ the individual. This process requires notice to the Commissioner and its usefulness is extremely limited. Additionally the language of this section could be construed to prohibit the issuance of a local teaching certificate. 

    Innovation for Silsbee ISD  

    Silsbee ISD seeks to hire certified and highly qualified individuals for every teaching position.  Currently, in the event the district cannot locate a certified teacher for a position, the district must submit a request to the Texas Education Agency. TEA will then either approve or deny the request. At this time, non-certified professionals cannot be hired or paid without SBEC certification on file.  The current certification requirements restrict the district's ability to hire high demand dual credit, and Career and Technical (applied Science, Technology, Engineering, and Art and Mathematics) teachers.  Flexibility to establish local teacher certification requirements allows the district to: 

    • Select from a larger and more experienced candidate pool for courses.
    • Establish requirements for professionals transitioning to education from other careers.
    • Hire teaching staff with industry-standard professional certifications, or those not currently certified in accordance with TEA standards.
    • Utilize the talents and skills of those in our community who would benefit the needs of our students.

    Implementation Considerations     

    • Exemption from TEC §21.003, TEC §21.0031, TEC §21. 053, and TEC §21.055, is limited to provide hiring flexibility in the specific instructional area of hard to fill, high demand dual credit, and Career and Technical (applied Science, Technology, Engineering, and Art and Mathematics) courses. All other instructional staff are required to hold valid SBEC certificates and will receive Chapter 21 contracts in accordance with policy and law. This excludes special education and bilingual/ESL teachers.
    • The District will maintain its current expectations for employee certification. The District will make every effort attempt to hire individuals with appropriate certification for the position in question; however, where that is not reasonably possible, the District will have the flexibility to hire individuals who are knowledgeable in the area and equipped to effectively perform the duties of the position in question.
    • For grades 7-12, the campus principal may submit to the superintendent a request for local certification that will allow an already certified teacher to teach a course or grade level for which he/she is not certified. The principal must specify in writing the reason for the request and document what credentials or life experience the teacher possesses that would qualify this individual to teach the proposed subject. By obtaining exemption from existing teacher certification requirements, the District will have the flexibility to offer an additional period to reduce class sizes, allow more options for a required class to be available at various times during the day, or open up a pathway for CTE classes that would increase our number of CTE student certifications. Teachers allowed to fill this role would have a minimum of 9 semester college hours in that particular subject or related field.
    • For secondary grades 7-12, an individual with experience in the content of an elective course could be eligible to teach a vocational skill or elective course through a local teaching certification. The principal must specify in writing to the Superintendent the reason for the request and document what credentials or life experience the teacher possesses that would qualify this individual to teach the proposed subject. Examples include an experienced homebuilder teaching a trades course, a licensed correction officer teaching a criminal justice course, or a retired CPA teaching an entry level accounting course.
    • Silsbee ISD will develop required professional development opportunities in the areas of student management, instructional strategies, curriculum, and parent engagement for individuals hired for such positions.
    • Silsbee ISD will utilize the standard teacher salary schedule for teaching positions of hard to fill, high demand dual credit, and Career and Technical (applied Science, Technology, Engineering, and Art and Mathematics) courses.
    • Teacher certification waiver requests, state permit applications, or other paperwork will not be submitted to the Texas Education Agency. The District will ensure that all individuals assigned to teach have the knowledge and resources necessary to be successful.
    • Parents will be notified when students are instructed by personnel without SBEC certification.

    PROPOSED INNOVATION

    PROBATIONARY CONTRACTS

    TEC Code Requiring Exemption

    TEC §21.102: Currently, For experienced teachers, counselors, or nurses new to the district, the probationary period may not exceed one year if the person has been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of the previous eight years.

    Innovation For Silsbee ISD

    A one-year probationary period is not sufficient to evaluate the teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom since teacher contract renewal timelines demand that employment decisions be made prior to District receipt of state assessment results. For experienced teachers, counselors, or nurses new to the district that has been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of the eight previous years, a probationary contract may be issued for up to two years. All other teachers, new to the profession or with less than five years of experience, hired in the District may remain on probationary status for three years and may be issued the fourth year of probation in accordance with TEC §21.102(c)

    PROPOSED INNOVATION

    TRANSFER STUDENTS

    TEC Code Requiring Exemption

    Texas Education Code TEC §25.036

    Innovation For Silsbee ISD

    Currently, a district may choose to accept, as transfers, students who are not entitled to enroll in the district. Under TEC §25.036, a transfer is interpreted to be for a period of one school year.  SISD maintains a transfer policy under FDA (LOCAL) requiring nonresident students wishing to transfer to file a transfer application each school year. In approving transfer requests, the availability of space and instructional staff, availability of programs and services, the student’s disciplinary history records, work habits, and attendance records are evaluated. Transfer students are expected to follow the attendance requirements and the rules and regulations of the District. TEC §25.036 has been interpreted to establish the acceptance of a transfer as a one-year commitment by the District. The District is seeking to eliminate the provision of a one year commitment in accepting transfer applications for the following circumstances:

    • Student behavior warrants suspension (in or out of school), placement in a disciplinary alternative program, or expulsion.          
    • Student attendance falls below the TEA truancy standard.
    • Campus leadership would meet with the campus transfer committee to make a determination on student status.  Once the committee makes a decision, it would be reported to the superintendent for a final decision.

    PROPOSED INNOVATION

    KINDERGARTEN – GRADE 4 CLASS SIZE REPORTING REQUIREMENT

    TEC Requiring Exemption

    TEC §25.112 requires districts to maintain a class size of 22 students or less for Kindergarten – 4th Grade
    classes. When any class exceeds this limit, the district must complete and file a waiver with the Texas
    Education Agency. These waivers are never rejected by TEA. This is a bureaucratic step that serves no
    purpose.

    TEC §25.113 requires school districts to notify parents of waivers or exceptions to class size limits. In
    many cases, the class has returned to a smaller student to teacher ratio before the waiver is even
    approved negating the need for this notice.
    Proposed Innovation:

    • SISD believes in a low student to teacher ratio in all of its classrooms. SISD will begin each school year with enough teachers to establish a student to teacher ratio of at least 22:1 or less in each K-4 homeroom class. In the event that any class size exceeds this ratio during the school year, the superintendent will report this information to the Board of Trustees. Decisions regarding appropriate student to teacher ratios will be made at the local level, taking into consideration the age and grade level of the students, the subject matter of the class, the needs of individual teachers and student groups, and the availability of additional instructional staff members.
    • A TEA waiver request will not be filed when a K-4 classroom exceeds the 22:1 ratio.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Silsbee ISD District of Innovation Plan: PDF File