ESC 15 Effective Instructional Practices

EAST SIDE STORY - Campus Highlight!

East Elementary in Brownwood Builds a Culture of Success

In 2018, James Clear published a book called "Atomic Habits". In this book Clear explains that all big things come from small beginnings. East Elementary, in Brownwood, TX started with a humble beginning, first opening its door in 1942. East Elementary has always been special place for students. The campus serves approximately 320 Prek-3rd grade students and has a rich history in being a community school. In 2019, the Texas Education Agency identified campuses for the first time with an A-F rating. Currently, 5% of campuses must be identified through a federal mandate for school improvement. After a year that brought many challenges, East Elementary found itself with an "F" rating. A campus cannot exit the label of “Comprehensive” for two years and due to the COVID19 Pandemic, East Elementary still lingers with the rating because there has been no way to exit. Although no letter grades were formally given in 2021, East Elementary had an 86% overall. A solid “B”. Campuses did get the opportunity to apply for alternative evaluation for state ratings. The requirements for students for using alternative evaluation only included Domain I and Doman II and the average needed to be at least a 70 with a 95% participation rate. East Elementary's average for Domain I (Student Achievement) and Domain 2B (Relative Performance) averaged a 90 with a 99% participation rate!!

Even though the campus has remained in school improvement due to the pandemic, the rating was not the driving factor for the staff at East Elementary. The staff at East is dedicated to student learning and ensuring all students have a strong foundation that will carry them through their entire educational journey. Mrs. Dee Dee Wright, the principal, contributes the turnaround to the strong culture and staff. “You have to have a strong spirit and have confidence in being your own person, “ Mrs. Wright said. She also believes that effective administrators never forget what it means to be a teacher. “I remember being in the classroom. I have never lost the desire and joy of being a teacher.” Mrs. Wright studied education through Tarleton University and has acquired degrees as a reading specialist, psychology minor, a Master’s degree in counseling, mid-management and superintendent certification. Dee Dee says, “I see myself as coach, teacher and counselor.”

Dee Dee Wright believes that a strong administrator must know curriculum and be willing to look at the TEKS at each grade level. “I need to know the rigor and how lessons are put in sequence.” The best strategy that Mrs. Wright puts in action when she walks in classrooms to observe teachers is ask the students. “What are you learning today?” She never uses this as a gotcha, but as a friendly observation to see if learning is taking place. "Students really have all the answers when it comes to learning."

Working on relationships was critical to East Elementary’s success. The routines and systems that are put in place have been critical. James Clear reiterates this approach in "Atomic Habits" by explaining that focusing on systems is more important than concentrating on goals. If you drive by East Elementary as students are arriving to school, one will see staff greeting students, holding doors, and checking on how each student is feeling. Students all convene in the cafeteria where they recite the pledges, school vision and then head to class with the teachers. Hallway transitions and classroom procedures are visible and intentional to promote positive communication and effective instruction. Student artifacts and data goals are visible in hallways and in the classroom. Data meetings take place weekly. Reteach activities on student expectations that were not mastered take place in classrooms can be witnessed on a daily basis.

Dee Dee Wright reads all lesson plans and provides feedback. “I work every Sunday afternoon after church and comment on all lesson plans. If you spend writing them, I’ll spend time reading them. When teachers write lesson plans, I think it is important to read them.”

“It is the Lionhearted Way,” Mrs. Wrights responds. It is what effective campuses do. Dee Dee Wright is quick to give her team credit. “There is no way someone can do this by her(him)self.”

Advice that Dee Dee Wright would give new principals centers around three pillars:

1. Be Visible-You can’t be effective sitting behind a desk. You must be in the hallways, classrooms and [at] events.

2. Be Vigilant-One must be confident. Don’t let anyone steal your spirit. Kids need to hear and see positive things. We owe that to them.

3. Virtuous-Having strong faith and treating people right is important. Never forget being a teacher.

James Clears states, "Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement."

East Elementary has gone from a “Comprehensive” rating requiring school improvement intervention to a grade that qualifies the campus to apply for National Blue Ribbon School status during a pandemic. National Blue Ribbon campuses will be announced in September. Where some campuses were making excuses, East Elementary was making strides.

Even though Mrs. Wright is quick to give the credit to her staff, students and parents, no question can be made about the importance of leadership. There is no time limit on greatness. East Elementary illustrates how putting effective systems in place and building great relationships will have a tremendous positive effect on student outcomes. Mrs. Wright explained, "We want to model excellence for our students. They deserve us to be excellent. When we look back, we want to be proud every ounce of effort that we put into our students.”

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones. New York, New York: Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Big picture

Effective Instructional Practices

Practicing effective instruction is not rocket science; however, applying effective instructional practices takes planning, consistency and follow through. Through the past fifty years, research based practices have evolved in regard to systems, but the premises have remained the same. Effective schools do these things:

1. Provide Strong Leadership

2. Have a strategic plan for recruiting, retaining and supporting educators.

3. Sustain a safe and positive school culture

4. Provide high quality instructional materials

5. Incorporate differentiated effective teaching strategies

6. Look at results (data) to guide future instructional practices

How does your campus rank in these six essential actions?

Not rocket science; however, building systems to focus on consistency and constancy instead of just a focus on intensity takes a special skill. ESC 15 has a dedicated staff ready to assist campuses in providing systems that focus on the biggest levers that will address multiple needs on a campus. ESC 15 has a staff trained in Paul Bambrick-Santoyo's work, Leverage Leadership that provides a roadmap for focusing on putting sustaining systems in place.

If interested in support or more information, contact the team at ESC 15:

ESC 15 Texas Instructional Leadership Team:

Michael Bohensky - michael.bohensky@esc15.net

Raelye Self - raelye.self@esc15.net

Ryan Knickerbocker - ryan.knickerbocker@esc15.net

Randy Gartman - randy.gartman@esc15.net

Paula Ringo - paula.ringo@esc15.net

Cindy Lee - cindy.lee@esc15.net

Texas Instructional Leadership Work

Observation Feedback

Schoolwide Culture Routines

Lesson Alignment and Formative Assessment

Data Driven Instruction

Pillars of Support

Face-to-Face Professional Development: Campuses and districts that choose to participate in a training will be part of a cohort of campuses that will meet together, learn instructional leadership best practices, and have an opportunity to practice their new skills together in a low stakes environment

Implementation Support: Following face-to-face professional development, ESC coaches will observe participants attempting to implement their new skills on their campuses or in their districts either virtually or in person, and provide additional tailored support to ensure the skills are applied successfully. Examples of such support are given as a reference only and are not meant to be all-encompassing or indicative of what individual districts/campuses will receive.

One-on-One Coaching: Following implementation support visits, trainers will coach district administrators on how to best guide principals toward successfully integrating the instructional leadership best practices on their campuses, as well as provide one on one support to shape district practices and policies to make the work more sustainable.

Guaranteed to move a letter grade! Or 25% of your money back!

Effective Instruction Workshops

These workshops are being provided to promote effective instructional practices.

June 02, 2022 1:00 PM - June 02, 2022 4:00 PM

Texas Instructional Leadership Overview

224617 - Purposeful Yearly Assessment Planning and Guiding Data Meetings
June 16, 2022 9:00 AM - June 16, 2022 4:00 PM

What assessments will your campus plan to administer in 2022-2023? Some stories are read and some are left to gather dust on the shelf. Data tells a story. Make sure that each assessment given has purpose. If your campus is intentional in the purpose of assessments, the data can help guide instruction and create an epic story that leads to the improvement of student performance. This session will look at a process and vision for using assessment and breaking down data during the school year. Afternoon session will dive into Texas Formative Assessment Resources and building valid and reliable assessments


How is the Teacher Incentive Allotment tied to Effective Instructional Practices? Simple answer is that TIA incorporates a system to support best practices to improve success for students.

For districts that have submitted an application, the application required them all to communicate the systems and processes for the following information:

Application Tabs for the Local Designation System:

District Info


Eligible Teachers

Eligible Campuses

Teacher Observations

SLOS-Portfolio-VAM or Pre-Test-Post test

System Development


District Support

Best Practices for all Students

Teacher Incentive Allotment 2021-2022 Map

HB 3 established the Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) to recognize effective teachers on three different levels: Recognized, Exemplary and Master. These teacher designations generate additional teacher-focused allotment funding for districts in order for them to reward their top performers.

Teacher Incentive Allotment Website Link

Continuous Improvement


Any campus that did not have an ESF Diagnostic this school year but is required to submit a TIP will need to complete a campus Self-Assessment. The template for this self-assessment can be found on the 806 Technologies online TIP platform under the Needs Assessment tab. The template will be accessible starting May 13th. Please contact Randy Gartman if you have any questions about accessing this Self-Assessment.

Final TIP Submission: June 17, 2022

School Improvement Engaged Campus Action Steps:

Step 1: Complete Self-Assessment or Review 2021-22 Diagnostic Final Report

Step 2: Complete Cycle 4 TIP and submit final TIP on June 17, 2022

Step 3: Plan PD for Prioritized Focus Areas aligned to steps 1 and 2 above.

2022 Accountability Manual is Available

Chapters 1–11 of the proposed 2022 Accountability Manual are available on the 2022 Accountability Rating System webpage. Because of the required administrative rulemaking process, these chapters are not yet final.

The public comment period on the proposed rules (including the manual) opens today and ends on June 13, 2022. Comments about Chapters 1–11 may be submitted to performance.reporting@tea.texas.gov.


August 12, 2022 Ratings Release on TEAL. No appeals will be resolved before the public release of ratings.

August 15, 2022 Preliminary Ratings and Preliminary Count of Consecutive Years of Unacceptable Performance Release on TEA Public Website. Ratings and counts of consecutive years are subject to change due to the results of an audit, investigation, or appeal.

August 12– September 12, 2022 2022 Appeals Window. Appeals may be submitted by the superintendent or chief operating officer once ratings and year counts are released. Districts and charter schools register their intent to appeal using the TEAL Accountability application and mail their appeal letter with supporting documentation. Appeals not signed by the district superintendent or chief operating officer of the charter school are denied. See the “How to Appeal” section later in this chapter.

September 12, 2022 Appeals Deadline. Appeals must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than September 12, 2022, 5:00 p.m. CDT, to be considered.

December 2022 Decisions Released. Commissioner’s decisions are mailed in the form of response letters to each district and charter school that filed an appeal by the September 12 deadline. Letters are posted to the TEAL Accountability application.

December 2022 Final Ratings and Count of Consecutive Years of Unacceptable Performance Release. The outcomes of all appeals are reflected in the ratings and year counts update scheduled for December 2022. The TEAL and public websites are updated. Ratings and year counts are subject to change due to the results of an audit, investigation, or appeal.