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Project: Bringing Technology and Data Visualization to the Texas Instructional Leadership Program

The Region 14 Comprehensive Center supported the Texas Education Agency in moving an Instructional Leadership professional development program to an online data collection system. “[I]f we can build the capacity of district leaders to help grow and develop principals, and we can grow and develop the capacity of principals to help grow and develop teachers, then that’s going to have a trickle-down effect on student outcomes,” shared Tim Regal who led Instructional Leadership at the Texas Education Agency during the conversion process.

With the move to a web-based platform, the Texas Education Agency intends to increase school ratings and offer access to professional development to more district and school leaders, which will provide the necessary skills to improve student achievement.

The Need

The Texas Education Agency (TEA), along with 20 regional Education Service Centers (ESC) across the state, designed the Texas Instructional Leadership (TIL) program to provide interactive professional development to campus and district instructional leaders. The program aligns with TEA’s Effective Schools Framework, which is based on years of educational research of the best practices essential for successful student and campus outcomes.

In the 2017–18 school year, TEA piloted the TIL program with 60 campuses across 16 districts. Of those 60 campuses, 13 had a campus rating of A or B coming into the TIL program. After the program, 26 campuses had a rating of A or B, showing the program was able to double the number of A- and B-rated campuses. There were 27 campuses rated D or F at the start of training, and coming out, the number of campuses with a D or F rating was reduced to 14. In the 2019–20 school year, the program grew to 20 districts that covered 85 campuses.

Previously, TEA collected TIL program data using over 200 Google Sheets, which became difficult for users to manage over time. This led to challenges with analyzing and initiating productive, data-informed conversations among TIL leaders and coaches.

The program needed a better data management system to facilitate communication and coaching. The Region 14 Comprehensive Center (R14CC) and TEA knew that stronger analysis of TIL program data would allow TEA to more easily see how improvement is achieved—thus allowing TEA to share strategies for success across the state.


Texas Instructional Leadership logo on an image of a laptop.

Our Approach

R14CC approached this work by partnering with Polycot Associates, a trusted Austin, Texas-based developer, to build a reliable system for TEA to collect TIL coaching data. This approach would allow for future expansion and integration with outside data systems to show the positive impact of TIL on student outcomes.

Before building the TIL system, R14CC and TEA gathered feedback from users to inform changes to usability functions to develop the best product. After creating the framework of the online system, R14CC and TEA gathered another round of feedback and made the necessary adjustments to create an ideal user experience.

This feedback allowed R14CC and TEA to continue to assess progress. The TIL online system launched in May 2023. Over the summer, the team built a year-to-year transition plan to ensure system sustainability, as the TIL system was originally built to accumulate the data over time without distinguishing by school year.

Advancing Forward

Since the online program launched, ESC user types are being trained and R14CC is supporting upcoming TEA staff training. Features are being added to the system to ensure sustainability, such as the year-to-year transition update, the ability for TEA to upload certain data points for all districts rather than requiring TIL leads to manually enter the data for each district, and improvements to the manager role.