ESF Lever 3: Creating a Positive School Culture in Texas Districts

3 min read
May 13, 2022 10:33:33 AM

In this week’s post on the Effective Schools Framework, you’ll learn about Lever 3: Positive School Culture.

Last week, we broadly covered what Texas’s Effective Schools Framework is and the five levers of the ESF.

Today’s blog is an extension of that one, and you’ll learn more about Lever 3 as well as its essential actions and how SchoolMint can support behavior initiatives in Texas schools.

ESF Lever 3: Positive School Culture

Each lever of the ESF is something the Texas Education Agency (TEA) deems essential to high-performing campuses.

One of these levers — Lever 3 — focuses on the importance of creating a positive school culture and what schools can do to achieve that.

As defined by the TEA, a positive school culture “requires compelling and aligned vision, mission, goals and values, explicit behavioral expectations and management system, proactive and responsive student support services, and involved families and community.”

Lever 3 has five district commitments. These commitments describe what local education agencies do to ensure that schools are set up for success.

  • Providing schools with resources and tools to engage families, such as online communication structures and translation services.
  • Providing data systems schools can use to track culture-related data, such as attendance, campus climate, and disciplinary referrals.
  • Providing campus with access to external supports and services for students.
  • Ensuring the buildings on a campus are well-maintained, safe, and facilitate learning.
  • Ensuring a district’s policies and practices align with creating a positive school culture.

How Texas Districts Can Create a Positive School Culture

Each lever of the ESF contains essential actions, which are the specific steps a school in Texas should take to support powerful teaching and learning.

To create a positive school culture, the TEA has four essential actions for Lever 3, as outlined below.

Note that Essential Action 3.1 is the foundational action. Districts and schools should prioritize 3.1 because the other essential actions of Lever 3 build off it.

3.1 Compelling and Aligned Vision, Mission, Goals, Values Focused on a Safe Environment and High Expectations

  • Stakeholders are engaged in creating and continually refining the campus’ mission, vision, and values.
  • Campus practices and policies demonstrate high expectations and shared ownership for student success, with a drive toward college and career readiness and postsecondary success.
  • Staff members share a common understanding of the mission, vision, and values in practice and can explain how they are present in the daily life of the school.
  • Regular campus climate surveys assess and measure progress on student and staff experiences.

3.2 Explicit Behavioral Expectations and Management Systems for Students and Staff

  • All staff and students are taught, practice, and reinforce behavioral expectations with a common language.
  • All staff and students understand a system of rewards and consequences, including restorative practices, and consistently implements the system with fidelity.
  • Rituals and public forums celebrate students who model expectations and demonstrate behaviors that reflect campus values.
  • Data systems exist to track all discipline referrals, attendance, and interventions and the data is regularly reviewed to identify trends and adapt accordingly.

3.3 Proactive and Responsive Student Support Services

  • The school has a campus-wide program to proactively teach mental health and wellness skills to students.
  • School staff meet frequently to identify individual student needs and work together to support and monitor individual progress, behavior, and mental health needs.
  • Students are provided with the support services (e.g., counseling, mentoring, external service referrals) that address their needs.

3.4 Involving Families and Community

  • The campus creates an inclusive and welcoming environment that engages all families in critical aspects of student learning.
  • Systems are in place to engage families on a regular basis about their child’s performance in a positive, constructive, and personalized way, including their child’s college and career preparation and postsecondary success.
  • Multiple communication strategies with families are integrated into teacher roles and responsibilities.
  • Family and community engagement and impact data are reviewed regularly, and plans are adapted as needed.


SchoolMint Hero Supports Lever 3

SchoolMint Hero is a student behavior management platform that supports Lever 3 of the ESF.

With Hero in place, our Texas partners can establish behavior expectations, reinforce those expectations, and ensure consistency in discipline across individual campuses and across the district.

Hero also gives schools a way to communicate behaviors and next steps back to parents and guardians, which facilitates their involvement in their child’s education.

And since the platform has built-in data reporting, district and school leaders can easily identify behavior patterns and trends, which can then guide their decision-making for future behavior initiatives.

Click the banner to get in touch about SchoolMint Hero!



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