Clarendon ISD hopes to become a "District of Innovation" - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Clarendon ISD hopes to become a "District of Innovation"

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
Mike Norrell / Source: KFDA Mike Norrell / Source: KFDA

Since 2015, schools in Texas have had the opportunity to become a "District of Innovation."

The new title allows the school district to regulate class schedules, school programs and calendar days.

Many schools in the Texas Panhandle have either already made the transition or, like Clarendon ISD, are working to become a District of Innovation.

"We make the best decisions for our kids right here in Clarendon and anything that will allow us to continue to do that is to our benefit," Superintendent Mike Norrell expressed. 

Back in September, Clarendon ISD started talking about the idea of being able to manage school subjects locally, and now the district is in the final stages of making that change. 

Norrell said by having jurisdiction over the school minutes, Clarendon would be able to give students more time to prepare and study for standardized testing.

"Standardized tests come around March, April and May, and if we have more days in the fall semester that is just more instructional time that gives our kids the opportunity to succeed," Norrell said. 

The state of Texas said schools cannot start class before the fourth Monday in August which would be Aug. 28.

Norrell said starting school that late can push back the school year a week or more, but if Clarendon gets the approval to make the transition, the school can avoid the late start and even have more three day weekends throughout the year. 

"It would help us balance out the following spring and fall semester and allow us to get out before June," Norrell explained. "We can also take advantage of the holidays we are accustom to taking."

Another advantage of receiving the new title is being able to locally certify people to teach and provide teacher contract service days. 

After spring break, Clarendon ISD will know if it will become a District of Innovation.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the school district will hold a public hearing regarding the transition and will be able to any answer questions parents or the public may have. 

The meeting will be inside Clarendon High School and will start at 4:00 p.m. 

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