Dripping Springs ISD became a District of Innovation in June of 2016. DSISD was an early adopter of this designation, which originated in the 84th Legislative Session.
The idea behind Districts of Innovation is that a local school district may want to pursue specific innovations in curriculum, instruction, governance, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting, or other areas. An innovation plan allows a district to gain exemption from many Texas Education Code requirements, thus gaining more local control. Each innovation plan is expected to be unique to each school district, allowing for local values and goals to be incorporated into the plan.
Some areas where Districts of Innovation can gain flexibility are: school start date, minimum minutes of instruction, class size ratio, 90-percent attendance rule, teacher certification and contracts, teacher appraisal system and student discipline provision. Each district may identify different areas where their plans would take advantage of the flexibility that is available.
Requirements that Districts of Innovation cannot be exempted from are: elected Boards of Trustees, PEIMS reporting, criminal history checks, curriculum and graduation requirements, bilingual education, special education, pre-K programs, academic accountability including student assessments, financial accountability, open meetings and public records rules, and purchasing regulations.