5 Important Characteristics of TIL

Texas Instructional Leadership

August brings a lot of excitement, as well as anticipation. Accountability rates are officially released in August, on what is, for many, the first week of school. This is cause for celebration or relief. Some campus and district leaders may feel confused and wonder what’s next?

“When we were identified as a campus in school improvement, we immediately knew we needed to implement systems to increase our leadership skills. I had a new leadership team and wanted to find a way to focus on Essential Action 1.1 Strong School Leadership and Planning. As I researched capacity builders, I ran across TIL. The TIL team offered us a year-long support plan as opposed to a one-time professional development which was exactly what we needed.” 

As campuses navigate uncharted waters, leaders may find their inboxes full of resources and professional development offerings. How does one know which services to choose with so many options available? Whether a campus is rated B and looking for a way to move towards an A or designated for improvement, every campus in Texas has access to development to help them achieve its goals.

Texas Instructional Leadership (TIL) is a Vetted Improvement Program (VIP), that has undergone a rigorous approval process to be named a high-quality capacity builder for districts. All ESCs in Texas offer TIL training, so no matter the context of your district or campus, ESCs are ready to support educators across the State.

What makes TIL a trusted process for school improvement?

1. Alignment to a Framework of Best Practices:

One of the most notable elements of TIL is alignment with the Effective Schools Framework (ESF). The purpose of the ESF is to provide common language and alignment around continuous improvement. As you can see here, each TIL content area, or pathway, is aligned to multiple Foundational Essential Actions from the ESF. All training includes capacity building around Foundational Essential Action 1.1: Develop campus instructional leaders (principal, assistant principal, counselors, and teacher leaders) with clear roles and responsibilities and the Foundational Essential Action that is the training focus. TIL results in building instructional leadership systems across a campus. 

2. Coaching and Implementation Support Matters:

According to the research of Jim Knight, traditional professional development yields roughly 10% absorption rates. When multiple development rounds, implementation support, and coaching occur, this rate jumps to about 90%! For this reason, TIL includes multiple rounds of training, implementation support, and coaching to support campus and district leaders as part of the training, and repeated learning and practice ensure consistent implementation. 

3. We use a cohort model:

TIL uses best practices in adult learning, including the cohort model, which has many benefits, such as in-depth engagement, enriched learning experiences (Harris, 2006; Lawrence, 2002; Maher, 2005), and social and emotional support (Mandzuk, Hasinoff & Seifert, 2003). Research shows that peer engagement in professional development is correlated with greater motivation, overcoming challenges, and success with program completion (Lawrence, 2002; Maher, 2005; Miller, 2007). Presenters have a greater ability to maximize reach by providing whole group, face-to-face training that supports campuses/districts to establish a shared vision and foundation of best practices.

“Collective teacher efficacy is the collective belief of the staff of the school/faculty in their ability to positively affect students. CTE has been found to be strongly, positively correlated with student achievement.  A school staff that believes it can collectively accomplish great things is vital for the health of the school and if they believe they can make a positive difference then they very likely will.”  -John Hattie Visible Learning

4. Focus on Sustainability

TIL training is a marathon, not a sprint. ESC teams work with campuses/districts to adjust or create systems for sustainability. We work with districts to meet their goals for engaging in TIL and create a common vision and messaging for the work ahead to ensure we meet the needs of campuses for the strongest implementation possible. We use evidence-based planning to develop a training sequence to set a strong foundation and work towards your campus and district goals to address gaps identified in the accountability data. 

5. Intentional Practice Makes Better:

The final component of TIL that sets it apart from other professional development training is the opportunity for intentional practice. We use a model developed by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo called “See It, Name It, Do It.” Participants see and unpack a model of the moves they will implement on campus by naming the model’s effectiveness. Our trainers provide relevant case study materials for all participants to get multiple rounds of practice and feedback. Participants calibrate what they learned during the training for greater alignment and retention. 

Regardless of an instructional leader’s reason for engaging in professional development, TIL provides training and systems aligned to the Effective Schools Framework. TIL engages district and campus staff toward shared goals and common vision to improve the learning of all students. 

To learn more about TIL at ESC Region 13, visit our website at https://esc13.net/school-leaders/texas-instructional-leadership.

Megan Cruz is the Project Coordinator for the Texas Instructional Leadership Team at ESC Region 13.

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