Center for Effective Schools » School Improvement

School Improvement

Effective Schools Framework (ESF)

The Effective Schools Framework describes the best practices effective schools and districts engage in on a daily basis and provides the basis for school diagnostics and for aligning resources and support to the needs of each school.  The ESF was developed in conjunction with school and district leaders and included a national review of research about what makes high-performing schools excellent.

The goal of the Effective Schools Framework (ESF) is to provide a clear vision for what districts and schools across the state do to ensure an excellent education for all Texas students. The ESF supports school and district continuous improvement efforts by providing the basis for the ESF diagnostic process and the foundation for the alignment of resources and supports to the needs each school.

Effective Schools Framework

At the core of effective schools is effective instruction: interactions between students, teachers, and content determine learning outcomes. This instructional core is strengthened and supported by effective, well-supported teachers, high-quality curriculum, and positive school culture. Strong school leadership and careful planning encompass and ensure each of these prioritized levers.


A detailed description of the Effective Schools Framework is available in this booklet. 

For additional information, please visit TEA's Effective Schools Framework website

The School Counselor

Everyone in school communities must advocate for improved school attendance. The school counselor has a key role identifying and focusing on issues behind students’ chronic absences. Taking time to examine data, drilling down to detect causes, and providing support through individual or small group counseling can positively impact changing the patterns of absenteeism.

American School Counselor Association
School Counselors Improving Attendance


Your district School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) may be an untapped resource when preventing and addressing chronic absenteeism. The SHAC members, comprised of parents, community members, school health representatives, and educators, serve as problem-solvers and advisors to school districts on health related issues. Through the collaboration of SHAC, effective health education, age-appropriate behaviors, and injury prevention strategies can provide the end result of decreased absences.

School Health Advisory Councils

School Attendance Review Team

A School Attendance Review Team (SART) is an intervention team that includes teachers, administrators, counselors, and nurses.  Students with frequent absences are referred to the team.  Like a Response to Intervention team, the SART is responsible for developing an individualized plan for improving the student’s attendance.  The consistency the team provides works well for meeting the expectations set in House Bill 2398.

Expunging Truancy Data per HB 2398
Chronic Absenteeism in the Nations Schools
Long Term Consequences of Missing School

Advisory Groups / SHAC Contact

Sherri Wright, M.Ed., Counselor
Coordinator, Federal Programs
[email protected]
(903) 988-6890

As educators strive to provide high quality instruction through engaging, interactive lessons, they continue to ponder on how to reach the students they miss – ones chronically absent from school Resource to reduce chronic absenteeism, excused or unexcused, may be “one click away” on websites such as Attendance Works. The Attendance Works website provides an array of resources including three tiers of intervention which align strategies to the level of student need.

Attendance Works
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This quote is critical for educators, who quickly come to realize the importance of building positive relationships with students and parents. One of the most effective practices to build positive relationships is to show interest and curiosity in students' lives. Relationship ties can then be solidified by using students' topics of interest in class activities and assignments.


Research has shown that there is power in building positive relationships with students. Responsive practices and positive relationships can lead to decreases in behavior problems and improved performance. “Low-income students who have strong teacher-student relationships have higher academic achievement and more positive social-emotional outcomes than their peers who do not have a positive relationship with a teacher (Murray & Malmgren (2005).” Responsiveness does not require “adding something” to our already full plate. It only requires increased awareness of behavior in order to respond more effectively.

Here are few shareable, practical resources to help you jump-start your responsive practices:
Cultural Responsiveness Contact
LaTonya Whitaker, M.Ed.Coordinator
[email protected]
(903) 988-6741
There is no magic wand or perfected approach to ensure resilience and growth mindset in students. However, having students develop skills for resilience is a great avenue to address common achievement and attendance issues. The ability to be resilient enables students to convert negative aspects of their lives such as peer pressure, lack of support at home, and poverty into fuel to achieve success. Region 7 ESC offers on-going support to help schools promote resilience and growth mindset in students. 
“What is he thinking?” may be a question we ask in regards to a student with chronic absenteeism.  Another question could be, “What is his mindset?”  Some students choosing a pattern of absenteeism may have a fixed mindset.  Characteristics of a fixed mindset:

  • I’m either good at it or not
  • If I fail, I am no good
  • I give up if I find something difficult
  • My abilities determine everything

Students may be unaware of their mindset, and how it serves as the GPS for the pathway they take.  Psychologist Carol Dweck’s mindset theories call attention to when students with fixed mindsets fail at something, they tend to internalize it as they can’t or won’t be able to do it.  However, when students have a growth mindset that entails believing they can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere, their GPS consistently leads them to school each morning.  As educators reflect on how to reach students who are absent too often, the question “How can growth mindset be an integral part of the school’s culture?” may be an important one to ask.