This project relates to the following ED Priorities:

  • Turning around the lowest-performing schools
  • Identifying and scaling up innovative approaches to teaching and learning that significantly improve student outcomes

icon

icon

Texas Reward School Case Studies


In September of 2013, Texas secured a conditional waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In the conditional waiver, the requirement for Distinguished School identification was replaced by the High Performing and High Progress Reward Schools designation for Title I schools. In accordance with the waiver, the state is celebrating and recognizing schools designated as "Reward Schools." In Year 3, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and TXCC collaborated to implement an initiative designed to recognize 11 Reward Schools through best-practice case studies wherein Reward Schools and districts shared their success stories with the state and other Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). Based on the success of the first round of case studies, TEA and TXCC recognize that the Reward Schools case studies can and should play a more central role in guiding and supporting schools in the school improvement process. In Year 4, the Reward Schools project team is revising the case study format to provide more specific descriptions of best practices as well as a more expansive and strategic dissemination strategy. Additionally, TEA and TXCC will coordinate with the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) and other educational service center partners to recruit a new cohort of Reward Schools to participate in the case studies and serve as lab sites for schools in need of improvement.

Previous Work Updates

2016

July

The Reward Schools team, in collaboration with Texas Education Agency (TEA) colleagues, is organizing a panel discussion at the Advancing Improvements in Education (AIE) conference in October featuring principals from the Reward Schools that participated in this year’s study. The principals will share their success stories and best practices with the audience, and the TXCC and TEA team will develop questions and facilitate the discussion. In addition, team members are writing the reports to share findings from this year’s study with broader audiences.

June

No new update.

May

The TXCC and TEA teams are in the process of analyzing the data collected during the case study site visits. Both teams plan to complete data analysis and begin report writing in June 2016.

April

TXCC researchers and partners from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) started coding and analyzing data gathered during the case study site visits. The teams met to discuss plans for reporting and disseminating the findings. We anticipate sharing the case study methodology, processes, and preliminary findings with education service center staff from around the state during train-the-trainer professional development sessions scheduled in June.

March

TXCC researchers and partners from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) completed field work in March. The field work consisted of campus site visits and data collection activities. TXCC and TEA or TCDSS staff interviewed principals, district staff, and students and conducted focus groups with teachers during the site visits. In March, the team also developed coding structures and analysis plans for the data gathered from the site visits. The TXCC team invited an AIR colleague and Nvivo expert, Brenna O’Brien, to provide our TEA and TCDSS colleagues training on Nvivo software, which is used to code and analyze qualitative data. During that session, the teams live coded data collected from the case studies and discussed plans for reporting and disseminating the findings.

February

TXCC researchers and partners from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) began field work by visiting several campuses in the study sample in February. TXCC and TEA or TCDSS staff interviewed principals, district staff, and students and conducted focus groups with teachers during the site visits. Data collection from the site visits will be concluded in mid-March once team members have visited all of the Reward Schools in the sample. In March, the team will begin to develop coding structures and analysis plans to analyze the data gathered from the site visits.

January

TXCC researchers conducted phone interviews with the principals from the Reward Schools selected to participate in the 2015-16 case study project to learn about their perceptions on which Critical Success Factors (CSFs) they believe are influencing the success of their campus. The team will use the data from these interviews to determine which protocols to use at each particular campus (i.e., which CSFs to focus on). The TXCC team collaborated with colleagues at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) in the development and refinement of the data collection tools that will be used with this year’s cohort of case study sites.

2015

December

The TXCC team met with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) to draft the case study protocols and plan for the campus site visits. The team implemented a timeline to conduct the case studies in February and March 2016 at the seven schools selected to be in this year’s cohort of Reward School case study sites. The team agreed to use a modular approach for this cohort of case studies. The one-on-one interview and focus group protocols and other data collection activities will be customized for each campus. Before the campus visit, TXCC researchers will conduct phone interviews with the campus principals to learn their perceptions about which Critical Success Factors (CSFs) they believe are influencing the success of their campus. The team will use the data from these interviews to determine which protocols to use at each particular campus (i.e., which CSFs to focus on).

November

The TXCC team collaborated with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) to build a school recruitment process and to develop case-study protocols and tools. The team created a project scope and timeline to conduct the case studies at seven schools selected to be in this year’s cohort of Reward School case study sites.

October

The TXCC team collaborated with TEA and the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) to discuss the selection process for the next cohort of Reward Schools case study sites. Using geographic and state accountability data, the team selected seven schools to participate in the case study sites by strategically selecting areas and regions where Reward Schools are in close proximity to Improvement Required schools. The team will now begin the school recruitment process and development of case study protocols and tools.

September

The TXCC team began planning with TEA colleagues the selection of the next cohort of Reward Schools case study sites. Using geographic data, the teams began discussing how to allocate resources, in this case the case study sites, by strategically selecting areas or regions where Reward Schools are in close proximity to Improvement Required schools.