ESF Lever 5: Effective Instruction in Texas Districts

4 min read
May 20, 2022 10:39:20 AM

In this week’s post on the Effective Schools Framework, you’ll learn about Lever 5: Effective Instruction.

In previous weeks, we covered Lever 3 of Texas’s Effective Schools Framework (ESF) as well as what the Effective Schools Framework even is. In today’s blog, we’re going a step further to outline Lever 5 of the ESF, its essential actions, and how SchoolMint can support effective instruction in Texas schools.

ESF Lever 5: Effective Instruction

Each lever of the ESF is something the Texas Education Agency (TEA) deems essential to high-performing campuses, with Lever 5 focusing on effective instruction among teachers.

According to the TEA, effective instruction requires campus leaders to “provide teachers with job-embedded professional development and access to time and data needed to reflect, adjust, and deliver instruction that meets the needs of all students.”


Additionally, as defined by the TEA’s website, Lever 5 has five district commitments:

  • The district ensures that campus instructional leaders receive initial training and ongoing coaching to support the implementation of instructional leadership systems (feedback on instructional materials alignment and use, data-driven instruction, and observation and feedback). 
  • For assessments that are district provided and graded, the district ensures that schools receive detailed reports within two instructional days.
  • The district provides schools with access to student academic, behavioral, and on-track to graduate data (present and historical).
  • The district has effective systems for identifying and supporting struggling learners.
  • District policies and practices support effective instruction in schools.

How Texas Districts Can Create Effective Instruction

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 5, as outlined below.

Note that Essential Action 5.1 is the foundational action. Districts and schools should prioritize 5.1 because the other essential actions of Lever 5 build off it.

5.1 Effective Classroom Routines and Instructional Strategies

  • Campus instructional leaders provide training and ongoing support so that teachers implement best practices for establishing and maintaining a strong classroom culture, including setting behavioral expectations, establishing routines and procedures that maximize instructional time, and building strong relationships.
  • Campus instructional leaders provide training and ongoing support so that teachers effectively use high-quality instructional materials and research-based teaching practices that promote critical-thinking skills and include differentiated and scaffolded supports for students with disabilities, English learners, and other student groups.
  • Campus instructional leaders ensure teachers are adapting instruction and materials to allow students to see the relevance between rigorous content and their lived experiences.
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5.2 Build Teacher Capacity Through Observation and Feedback Cycles

  • Campus instructional leaders use normed tools and processes to conduct observations, capture trends, and track progress over time.
  • Observation debrief conversations occur within 48 hours of observation and include high-leverage, bite-sized, clear, actionable feedback with clear models and opportunities to practice.
  • Campus instructional leaders conduct follow up observations after coaching sessions to monitor implementation of feedback within agreed-upon time frames.
  • Campus instructional leaders determine the frequency of observations based on teacher needs and student results on formative assessments.

5.3 Data-Driven Instruction

  • Campus instructional leaders review disaggregated data to track and monitor the progress of all students and provide evidence-based feedback to teachers.
  • Teachers use a corrective instruction action planning process, individually and in PLCs to analyze data, identify trends in student misconceptions, determine the root cause as to why students may not have learned the concept, and create plans to reteach.
  • Teachers (with content and grade-level teams whenever possible) have protected time built into the master schedule to meet frequently and regularly for in-depth conversations about formative and interim student data, effective instructional strategies, and possible adjustments to instructional delivery focused on meeting the needs of both struggling learners and learners needing acceleration.
  • Student progress toward measurable goals (e.g., % of class and individual student mastering of objectives, individual student fluency progress, etc.) is visible in every classroom and throughout the school to foster student ownership and goal setting.

5.4 MTSS for Students with Learning Gaps

  • All staff are engaged in coordinated and proactive planning to identify students who have significant learning gaps or who lack key foundational skills and provide them with timely interventions throughout the year.
  • All teachers use a student tracking system that includes assessment information, course grades, teacher referrals, and attendance to monitor individual student progress and the intensity and schedule of interventions.
  • Teachers or other school staff keep families informed and involved in the process of providing interventions for struggling learners.

SchoolMint Grow Supports Lever 5

SchoolMint Grow is an instructional coaching and feedback platform that supports effective instruction under Lever 5 of the ESF.

“[Grow] is a perfect fit and in perfect alignment with Texas’s Effective Schools Framework and TEA’s Texas Instructional Leaders program. We are grateful we piloted [Grow] in the spring. It was an easy decision to move forward with a subsequent multi-year partnership.”
— Dr. Laura Carrasco-Navarrete (International Leadership of Texas; Deputy Superintendent of Academics and Student Services)

With Grow, our Texas partners can observe classroom instruction, provide teachers with quick feedback, share and upload videos, do lesson plan feedback, collect coaching data, and much more.

Watch the video below for an overview of Grow, or click here to request a free one-on-one demo and see the platform in action for yourself.




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