Texas True Accountability Cohort

A Path to Localized Accountability for Texas Schools

Join your colleagues in adopting a student-centric, benefits-based framework for school performance across Texas.

Instructor: John Tanner

You always knew school accountability was broken.

You just couldn’t put your finger on why.

Meet Your Instructor

John Tanner is one of the nation’s foremost voices on school accountability. His bravEd True Accountability™ Framework amounts to a two-year journey designed to help schools embrace a localized system of school performance that puts students and community stakeholders, and not test scores, first. Sign up today.

The Experience

Here’s what to expect when your school team joins the Texas True Accountability cohort.

Structured monthly learning conversations

Through a monthly series of 2-hour virtual learning sessions, John will help your school team define common terms, challenge standard misconceptions and adopt a proven framework that "clicks in" to ongoing local accountability efforts.

Weekly 30-min. working groups

In addition to monthly learning sessions, participating school teams will break into groups weekly throughout the program for timed 30-minute workshops to tackle problems of practice and do the work to move local school and district accountability plans from concept to action.

Bi-weekly 'office hours'

John and team will make themselves available for open 'office hours,' every other week throughout the program to provide guidance toward your goal of developing a benefits-based local accountability system.

Plus, access to the bravEd portal

Every participant receives 24/7 access to bravEd’s online library of research-backed training tools and learning materials designed to help your school or district achieve True Accountability.

bravEd’s virtual email hotline

Additionally, teams will have access to bravEd’s virtual email hotline, where they can ask questions and build an organic knowledge base to support their work.

The Outcomes

A True Accountability™ mindset starts with developing a model of school performance, by Texans, for Texans.

1. Support localized school accountability plans
2. Evolve from a compliance-based structure to a benefits-based system
3. Walk away with a practical roadmap to fuel and inform ongoing efforts
4. Benefit from regular collaboration with colleagues across the state

The result is a local accountability system that is good for students, understood by parents, and embraced by communities.

How to participate

For these efforts to be effective, they must be locally led. To get started, bravEd recommends launching a one-year pilot that consists (at minimum) of one district and at least one school or campus-based team. Pricing for Year 1 of the program is as follows:

The base price is $5,500 per district team + $2,750 per school or campus-based team, with discounts applied when you choose to sign up 10 or more campuses.

Full pricing and a sign-up form is below.

$5,500 – district (required)
Enroll a district leadership team (up to 5 members)

Recommended for:
Superintendent
Assistant Superintendent
Cabinet members
Board members

$2,750 – campus (minimum 1 required)
Enroll a school-based team (up to 5 members)

Recommended for:
Principals
Assistant principals
Department heads
Key teachers and/or staff

Sign up 10 or more campuses and receive a discount of $1,250 per additional campus beyond 10. Represent a small rural district or campus? Ask about additional discounts.

Schedule

Below is a sample of our Structured Learning sessions and what to expect

Session 1: The Accountability Formula — accountability in effective organizations of all kinds follows a simple but powerful formula. We’ll explore that formula and the powerful impact it can have on your schools.

Session 4: Truth-Telling Trust-Building Machines — only with the truth can your organization improve, and only when organizations can visibly improve can their stakeholders trust in those organizations. Unfortunately, that is a long way from the accountability systems educators have been subject to. In this session, we’ll model a better alternative.

Session 6: Testing in its Place — one of the things that makes this series unique is that we don’t badmouth testing. We must, of course, be deeply critical of the fact that tests were selected as an accountability tool because that is entirely outside their design and should never have been done, but tests are one of a variety of research tools that can help inform the educational process. Educators need a clear sense of testing, because once they understand its design and purpose, going back to improper uses of it becomes impossible.

Session 7: Rethinking Evidence — education as a whole has fallen into the trap of using research data in ways that were never intended and excluding tons of evidence that need to be understood to understand the effectiveness of a school. This session will work to expand what evidence is needed, how best to get it, and most importantly, how to interpret it properly.

Session 9: Learning to Speak Accountability — one of the things that will become obvious as you engage in this work is that you’ll need to adjust how you talk about your schools. Learning to speak about where a school is and is not yet as effective as it should be is a challenge, especially in schools where the lens most people have consists of test scores and grades.

Experience the power of
True Accountability™ today

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the bravEd True Accountability™ Framework?

    Created by nationally recognized data scientist, writer and thought leader John Tanner, the bravEd True Accountability™ Framework replaces outdated compliance-based school performance models, with a benefits-based approach that accounts for circumstances inside and outside of school that impact a child’s education. In Texas, the framework is being delivered as part of a statewide cohort experience. This two-year journey is designed to seamlessly “click in” to guide and inform the work districts and schools are doing locally to rethink school accountability.

    Why adopt the bravEd True Accountability™ Framework?

    As schools struggle to close achievement gaps forced wider by a global pandemic, educators desperately need a reliable system and process by which to accurately measure school performance. But traditional accountability measures are broken — and have been for years. The bravEd True Accountability™ Framework exposes and systematically removes inherent biases found in traditionally compliance-based school accountability frameworks in favor of a benefits-based approach, with focus on students and their future successes.

    What’s included in this program?

    The True Accountability Framework™ includes a combination of guided and asynchronous professional learning opportunities, including scheduled strategic accountability conversations, a series of timed small-group workshops and optional office hours. Plus, 24/7 access to a growing knowledge base of school accountability resources. The process is designed to get educators talking about traditional accountability systems, to identify what’s working and what’s not, and develop a new, more holistic system to more accurately measure and reflect modern-day school performance at the local level.

    Who should participate?

    The True Accountability™ Framework was designed specifically for school leaders and internal and external teams. District teams should include the district superintendent and two to three additional team members. Campus teams should include the building principal and two to three additional school-based team members.

    How will this help my team?

    The True Accountability™ Framework helps school leaders by exposing long-held biases in traditional K-12 accountability frameworks and providing an alternative, benefits-based system that better reflects the future needs and circumstances of individual students, parents and other stakeholders. Team members have an opportunity to learn about and embrace a mindset of True Accountability™, while workshopping problems of practice to implement a system that reflects the unique needs and challenges of their local communities.

    Will this replace Kentucky's existing test-based system?

    bravEd’s True Accountability™ Framework cannot replace these largely compliance-based systems, but it can give you a parallel mindset and approach by which to be accountable to your stakeholder community by focusing on the evidence, benefits and forward-thinking school performance measures that they expect and that you need to make real improvements.

    How can I participate?

    If you’re interested in bringing a system of True Accountability™ to your school or district, you can sign your team up today. Simply follow the button at the top or bottom of this page. Once you submit your information, you’ll receive a message to confirm your participation and detail next steps.

    How did the True Accountability movement start?

    The movement began in earnest when John Tanner founded Test Sense (which is now bravEd) in 2009 as a vehicle for solving the the challenges associated with traditional school accountability. The goal was not to invent something new, but to observe how accountability works in a variety of organizations and draw out a set of frameworks that could be applied in schools. Schools and districts first started to take advantage of those frameworks in 2015, as part of a simple, grassroots approach. By late 2020, despite the challenges presented by a global pandemic, the number of districts across the country embracing these frameworks eclipsed 100, a watershed moment. BravEd anticipates a near doubling of districts engaging in this work next year and projects to replicate that growth over the next several years.

    What is the time commitment?

    This is not a program, but the establishment of a set of frameworks, so it takes time. The entire process amounts to a two-year journey, but the frameworks produce impact right from the start. Your commitment to this cohort represents participation in Year 1 of the two-year program and includes a series of monthly team and weekly stakeholder engagements. Should you choose to continue with the program in Year 2, renewal pricing will be available to you.

     

    What will my team achieve during this process?

    School teams who participate in the True Accountability™ Framework will achieve at minimum, the following:

    • The development of a True Accountability mindset among district staff/teams
    • The establishment of a True Accountability system for each participating each school/district
    • The capacity to aggregated their efforts, so that they are meaningful to policy makers and other stakeholders

    Where else is this work being done?

    Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania have active consortia. Ohio is currently accepting enrollments, as is our first national cohort, representing a  half a dozen additional new states.

    Will policy makers pay attention to this work?

    They already are. There is a general understanding in many states that current school accountability policies aren’t working. In Ohio, for example, the Secretary’s office and several state board members have asked to watch the process and learn from it. In Kentucky, grass-roots efforts like L3 and others are already garnering the attention of lawmakers. History shows that policy makers must answer two questions en route to effective policy: (1) where is a field or profession likely to have issues and (2) where do these issues currently exist? Schools have historically not been able to answer either question, resulting in an ineffective collection of policies. True Accountability aims to solve this problem for schools.

    How do we avoid the policy mistakes of the past?

    Our greatest mistake has been to complain in hopes that policy makers will opt to course correct, rather than to present policy-makers with workable alternatives. At bravEd, our theory is to build a better system first. Only then can the right policy approach be determined.

    When will we start to see/feel the benefit of this work?

    Immediately. The Accountability mindset, once established, creates a new way of seeing and understanding where a school is or is not effective. That information, which is not currently a part of any state accountability program, is the prerequisite to meaningful change and improvement.

    What metrics or tests do you use?

    We get this question a lot given the approach to accountability taken in schools, but it is the wrong question. In fact, schools are the only place, profession, or field that starts accountability by asking what they will measure, rather than what needs to be accomplished. True Accountability™ is rich in evidence, far more so than the manner in which current school accountability is done, but it begins every conversation with what needs to be accomplished.

    School report cards and most local accountability efforts are mostly laundry lists of accomplishments which amount to a participation trophy. Is this another one of those?

    Those other methods, quite frankly, are not accountability. Accountability is a high-stakes affair, and it should be, especially in something as important as schooling. Accountability effectively  indicate where a school is effective and where it is not yet as effective as it should be. That is truth, and only with truth can a school improve, and its stakeholders understand the nature of its efforts. Lists of data and/or accomplishments aren’t accountability because they fail to reach that standard.

    What is the mission of True Accountability™?

    To solve the school accountability challenge in a way that is meaningful to stakeholders, empowers educators, and creates the proper platform for effective educational policies.

    Still have questions about True Accountability™?

    Fill out the form below to request your free administrator and/or board informational session with the bravEd team.