I am writing to share information about Fort Bend ISD’s Local Innovation Plan, which is now posted online for a 30-day public comment period. As part of the process to become a District of Innovation, this plan outlines three general areas in which Fort Bend ISD would like flexibility from state mandates, including the school calendar, teacher certification for hard-to-fill positions, and student attendance requirements. Please make time to read the Local Innovation Plan and provide feedback by visiting www.fortbendisd.com/innovation.
On February 21, we will hold a public meeting so that our community can learn more about the Local Innovation Plan. It will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the FBISD Administrative Annex Building at 3119 Sweetwater Blvd.
I am proud that our Local Innovation Committee has worked so hard to develop a plan that reflects the needs and values of the FBISD community. The committee consists of students, teachers, community members and staff who collaborated to find solutions while keeping in mind our more than 74,000 students and 5,000 teachers. On Wednesday, members of the Innovation Committee presented their plan to the District’s Academic Advisory Council (AAC). The AAC voted to approve the plan, allowing the plan to move forward for consideration by the FBISD Board of Trustees after the 30-day public-comment period.
In all, the Local Innovation Plan identifies six exemptions from the Texas Education Code, four of them related to the calendar. I want you to know that the Local Innovation Committee and the District’s Academic Advisory Council gave great thought and deliberation in this process, asking thoughtful questions about how FBISD would implement the plan and monitor its success. Please know that if FBISD becomes a District of Innovation, the only exemptions we would implement for the 2017-18 school year would relate to the District calendar. Others would require extensive planning and potential policy revisions. Our Board will hold us accountable for effective implementation of the plan, and we know you will, too.
2017-18 School Year Calendar
As I shared in January, due to the state-mandated late start date for the 2017-18 school year and the feedback we received from the community, Fort Bend ISD decided to delay adoption of next year’s District calendar until after the District of Innovation process was completed. This allowed the calendar committee to develop a more innovative calendar option that would better balance the fall and winter semesters and include a week-long Thanksgiving break. They have also developed another, more traditional calendar option that includes the August 28 start date. This traditional calendar would extend the school year into the first week of June.
We will recommend the Board adopt one of these options at the March 27 Board meeting, the same night they consider the Local Innovation Plan. As we have previously shared, in either scenario, we do not anticipate starting school next year any earlier than August 21.
National School Counselors Week
Before I close, I want to be sure and recognize our school counselors as National School Counselors week comes to a close. Our counselors play an important role to ensure that the needs of our students are met both academically and emotionally. Counselors, thank you!