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.
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.
- 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.