The Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) is one of 15 regional comprehensive centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education for the October 2012–September 2019 grant cycle of the Comprehensive Centers Program. The centers provided capacity-building technical assistance to state education agencies (SEAs) in their implementation and administration of programs authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, reauthorized in 2015 as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
During the grant period, TXCC worked closely with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to support the agency's efforts to implement, scale up, and sustain initiatives statewide and to lead and support Texas school districts and schools in using evidence-based policies, practices, programs, and interventions to improve student outcomes. Key priority areas for TEA included college and career readiness, data-based decision making, school turnaround, standards and assessments, and talent management. A selection of the center’s TEA projects and key resources are featured below.
Rethinking Special Education Certification in Texas (2019)
In 2018 the state of Texas provided special education services to approximately 500,000 students. However, only 41 percent of these students were approaching grade-level knowledge and skills in reading and math, compared to 75 percent of all Texas students who were approaching grade level. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs required TEA to address issues that contributed to the under-identification of students with disabilities. TXCC provided professional development to TEA to increase staff expertise and the ability to provide high-quality technical assistance to districts that ensures compliance with the requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. TXCC also facilitated meetings of a special education forum that examined pre-service and in-service certification requirements for educators with the goal of strengthening instructional practices for eligible students in special education programs. Rethinking Special Education Certification in Texas (PDF) summarizes the recommendations made by the forum participants.
Increasing Family and Community Engagement in Texas Schools (2019)
ESSA requires each State Education Agency (SEA) to be the key decisionmaker in the development and implementation of its ESSA Consolidated State Plan. SEAs must also conduct extensive outreach and engagement efforts to inform the development of state plans. To assist TEA staff to build capacity for these efforts, TXCC helped plan and coordinate stakeholder engagement meetings and develop and analyze surveys for public input. TXCC also provided additional supports and technical expertise for state plan development in response to technical requests by the agency. As part of this effort, the Texas Council on Family-School Engagement provided recommendations and input to TEA to help inform the agency’s meaningful engagement of family, school, and community stakeholders in the form of these resources:
- Family Engagement Supports Student Pathways to College and Career Success (PDF)
- Family Engagement Is Essential in Early Childhood Education (PDF)
- How Can Districts Support Success for All Students? (PDF)
- How Can You Support Your Student’s Success? (PDF)
- How Can Schools Support Success for All Students? (PDF)
- The Effective Schools Framework Engages Families in Creating High-Performing Schools (PDF)
- Texas System of Great Schools Network Engages and Empowers Families (PDF)
- Family Engagement Supports Educators and Promotes Student Success (PDF)
Recognizing and Replicating Texas Reward Schools (2016)
TXCC collaborated with TEA and the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) to spotlight and share the Reward Schools’ best practices with other schools in the state. In Year 5 of the project, TXCC staff provided technical assistance and expertise to TEA on developing surveys and other research instruments based on the Reward Schools case studies that can be implemented with larger samples of high-performing/high-progress Title I schools. This will allow TEA to go beyond the limitations of the case study approach (i.e., non-generalizable findings) to gather data and produce findings that are more generalizable to diverse schools in Texas.
- 2015–2016 Reward Schools Case Studies: Statewide Report (PDF)
- Practice Guide: Sharing Lessons From Reward Schools to Improve Learning in Texas (PDF)
School Improvement and Geography (2016)
School improvement efforts are often influenced by where schools are located. In the first video, Trent Sharp, AIR senior technical assistance consultant, talks about his work with the Texas Comprehensive Center to examine the geographic and social factors that affect low performing schools and high performing Title I schools, which serve a large percentage of low-income students, throughout the state. In the second video, Sharp talks about how geographic information systems (GIS) data can be used with school and other demographic and social information to better inform school improvement efforts.
The Geography of School Improvement in Texas
How GIS Mapping Can Help Improve Schools
MARCH 2019 | LEARNING SERIES
Grow Your Own: A Systematic Approach to Securing an Effective Educator Talent Pool
This learning series presents four short modules focused on critical topics and support for developing and implementing Grow Your Own programs in regions and districts.
- Early Warning Data Systems
- Elevating Support for Texas Rural and Small Schools (PDF)
- District Excellence in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas (PDF)
- Report to the Texas Legislature: Texas Teacher Mentoring Advisory Committee (PDF)
- Rural Schools Spotlight Report: 2016–17 (PDF)
- Better Surveys and Reports Yield Results Future Teachers Can Use (PDF)