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District Of Innovation


Amarillo ISD District of Innovation Plan, April 2021 (PDF opens in new window)

Amarillo ISD District of Innovation Plan, February 2017 (PDF opens in new window)

What is a “District of Innovation”?

The 84th Legislative Session, through House Bill 1842, created “Districts of Innovation” in Chapter 12A of the Texas Education Code. The new law allows independent school districts, such as Amarillo ISD, to access many of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. To take advantage of these new opportunities, a school district’s board of trustees must adopt an “innovation plan.” Only districts with acceptable performance ratings are eligible to be a District of Innovation. AISD has an acceptable rating, and is eligible for designation as a District of Innovation.

As a District of Innovation, AISD will have:

  • Greater local control over the educational and instructional model for Amarillo ISD scholars;
  • Increased freedom and flexibility, while maintaining accountability for results; and
  • The ability to innovate and think “outside the box,” to the benefit of Amarillo ISD scholars, educators and staff.

AISD’s District of Innovation (“DOI”) Committee is focused on three (3) areas of innovation:

  1. School calendar start date (under current law, school cannot begin before the fourth Monday in August); and, 
  2. School calendar end date (under current law, school cannot end before May 15th); and,
  3. Required annual minutes of instruction for pre-kindergarten (under current law, half day pre-kindergarten is not permissible, unless the school district receives a waiver from the Texas Education Agency – AISD has historically sought and been granted waivers).

Background & Process

On November 21, 2016, AISD’s Board of Trustees (“Board”) passed a Resolution to initiate the process to be designated as a District of Innovation.  At that same meeting, the Board conducted a public hearing to receive comments from the public about becoming a District of Innovation.  Following the public hearing, the Board named the District-wide Educational Advisory Council (commonly known as “DEAC”) to serve as AISD’s District of Innovation Committee (“Committee”) and develop the innovation plan (“Plan”).  The Committee/DEAC is comprised of key stakeholders, including elementary and secondary teachers, district-level non-teaching professional staff, parents, community representatives, business representatives, and a Board member.  See below for a list of DEAC/DOI Committee members.


The term of the plan may be for up to five years, unless terminated or amended earlier by the Board in accordance with the law.  If, within the term of this Plan, other areas of operations are to be considered for flexibility as part of HB 1842, the Board will appoint a committee to consider and propose additional exemptions in the form of an amendment.  Any amendment adopted by the Board will adhere to the same term as the original plan.  AISD may not implement two separate plans at any one time

District Of Innovation Plan Committee

AISD’s Districtwide Educational Advisory Council (DEAC) serves as the DOI Committee. Learn more about DEAC.


District Of Innovation Plan Committee Meetings

The first DOI Committee meeting was Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the Rod Schroder Education Support Center. The public was welcome to attend and observe the Committee’s deliberations.

A second DOI Committee meeting was held January 17th at the Rod Schroder Education Support Center. The public was welcome to attend and observe the Committee’s deliberations. A proposed Plan was finalized at this meeting, and the proposed Plan was posted on this webpage on January 19th. The proposed Plan was posted for more than 30 days.

The final DOI meeting was held Tuesday, February 21st at 5:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the Rod Schroder Education Support Center. The public was invited to attend and observe deliberations through this website and the publicly posted agenda. There was an opportunity for public comment during a public hearing. The proposed District of Innovation Plan posted at the top of this page was approved by a majority of the DEAC Committee.

Meeting Minutes

View the Districtwide Educational Advisory Council meeting minutes page to view minutes documents.

Board Approval

At the Regular Board Meeting on January 23, 2017, the Board authorized the District's General Counsel to notify the Commissioner of Education of its intent to vote on adoption of a proposed local innovation plan.

The Board conducted a public hearing regarding the proposed District of Innovation Plan and considered the Plan at its regular February Board Meeting, held at 6:00 p.m., February 27, 2017.  The proposed Plan (posted above) was approved by a 5-1 vote, with Trustees Jim Austin, Renee McCown, John Ben Blanchard, Eric Darnell and Scott Flow voting in favor or the Plan, and Trustee James Allen voting against the Plan. Trustee John Betancourt was absent for the meeting.