Creativity to transform schools

HARLINGEN — It’s official.

Imagination has been granted more power in the classrooms of the Harlingen school district, thanks to its designation as a District of Innovation.

The designation, made possible last year when Texas passed House Bill 1842, grants school districts more local control over school calendars and schedules, teacher/student ratios, minutes of instruction, and teacher certification. Such flexibility allows more innovation and creativity.

Traditionally, these matters are governed by the Texas Education Code. The District of Innovation provides some exemptions from those statutes.

“A lot of these exemptions were already available to charter schools but were unavailable to public schools,” said Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer for the Harlingen school district.

“In our school district, we felt there were some areas where these exemptions would best support some of the work that we were doing as part of our strategic planning,” Noyola said.