CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Flour Bluff Independent School District Board of Trustees held a public meeting Thursday night to discuss becoming a District of Innovation.

Flour Bluff ISD said the idea of becoming a District of Innovation started in February when the calendar committee prepared for the 2019-20 school year and realized there was not a lot of flexibility because of requirements by the State. Becoming a District of Innovation will allow Flour Bluff ISD to start the school year earlier than the end of August, which would give them more time to plan.

"One component of District of Innovation is being able to start the school year a little earlier to sprinkle in professional development days for our staff throughout the school year," Public Information Officer Kim Sneed said. "Good for families because the kids get breaks throughout the year to have more family time."

According to Sneed, Flour Bluff ISD would be able to add teachers that teach subjects such as engineering. If someone has a degree and experience in engineering but isn't certified with the State, they could be hired and then able to start the process of getting their certification.

Flour Bluff ISD board agreed for its district to go forward and adopt an innovation plan. 

1,100 school districts across Texas, including over 850 schools, are already designated as Districts of Innovation.

Many districts want specific innovations such as curriculum, parent community involvement, or other ideas.

Flour Buff ISD is interested in having a more flexible school calendar which will allow staff more time to prepare.

"When the state restricted us so much with our calendars, our teachers right now have 12 in-service days," board president Shirley Thornton said.  "There's no time in the day for teacher sit down to meet with their dept for a lengthy amount of time discuss curriculum that they want to do .. This is one way to give them time at work, so they're not having to do that after school or before."

"They don't have a background of classroom mgmt, they don't know how to differentiate their lessons, their classrooms, they don't understand all the combinations and modification as special education teacher as well as their English learners," said Dr. Laurie Turner, state board certification member. "Not so much a decrease in learning as it is an increase of violence in the schools, improper relationships we are having with students and their teachers because their not vetted don't have background information."

A committee consists of teachers and parents will determine what facets of the district of innovation they want to take part in.

The Flour Bluff school board now has 30 days to choose a committee that will start creating the innovation plan.

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