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Overcoming Barriers in Plan Implementation

Overcoming Barriers in Plan Implementation


In this lesson, students evaluate common challenges with and potential solutions for plan implementation.

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Source: Globe, Clker,; Thinking Person, Clker,; Caution, Pixabay,; Cone, Pixabay,; Yellow Warning, Pixabay,

Video Transcription

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Hello there. In this lesson, we will take a look at and evaluate some common challenges that come with implementing action plans and we'll also discuss some potential solutions. So let's get started. I'll have to go back over 20 years for this example, but I remember like it was yesterday.

I was nearing the end of my first year teaching in a fourth grade classroom and it was everything I dreamed of and more. The school was great, the parents were supportive, and the class was amazing. A few parents said to me, somewhat tongue in cheek, wouldn't it be great if you could be their teacher next year?

It got me thinking about something I'd read about from a neighboring district. It was called looping. Nothing like this existed in our school at the time. I proposed the idea to my principal and began to seriously explore it. A committee was formed and we researched, visited other districts, and ultimately made a proposal.

There were many barriers along the way. But in the end, that memorable first year turned into two. Whenever an initiative or an action plan is being implemented, there are some common challenges that teams face. Fortunately, there are some helpful strategies that can help alleviate those concerns.

A challenge that many school improvement teams face is being an active member can somewhat be overwhelming for the classroom teacher. One way to overcome this challenge is for school leaders to offset the load those teachers in order to make it easier for them to commit to the difficult work that needs to be done.

For example, providing coverage for duties so that meanings aren't rushed. Some recognition for their efforts also goes a long way toward making members feel appreciated. There's also been a misconception that school improvement teams are collecting and analyzing data as a means of evaluating teacher performance.

School leaders must make a conscious effort to clearly communicate exactly how the data is being used and that it is to make decisions about what is working and what is not as the school works towards continuous improvement. Teachers will also feel far more invested in the entire process if they are empowered to carry out the necessary actions to reach the goals of the initiative.

Teachers aren't the only ones who can feel the pressure of being an active member of a school improvement team. It can also be overwhelming and confusing for parents, community members, and students as well. Being all in on an initiative is very important and it takes buy-in from many parties.

To increase that much needed support from the larger school community, the school improvement team should reach out and involve many stakeholders, including teachers, parents, and students in the implementation of the plan and communication of its progress. Without this buy-in and support, plans will inevitably fail.

Gathering that support can be a tricky proposition. If the school is saying they are partners with parents, their actions have to back that up. It is important that the school team clearly defines and communicates expectations of its members in a professional yet friendly way.

Expectations for timeline and goal attainment as well as the scope of the entire plan should also be realistic. Here are some other tips that will help your organization put together a solid team that is willing to roll up their sleeves and accept the difficult job of improving your school.

Avoid trying to implement numerous initiatives at the same time. Teachers and team members will burn out. Don't engage in any more than three initiatives in any given year. And each team should only focus on one initiative. The implementation process should be organized and completed efficiently.

Any sense of disorganization or wasted time will create negative feelings and leave members with a bad taste in their mouths. And whenever you can celebrate and recognize success, go ahead and do so. So it's time to summarize what we covered in this lesson.

We looked at some potential barriers to implementing a plan from the perspective of teachers, community members, and students and provided some advice on how to avoid that. We also shared some additional tips that will help you get this important work done collaboratively.

Here's today's food for thought. Pretend you're king or queen for the day, or in this case principal or superintendent. What initiative would you like to spearhead? For more information on how to apply we learned in this video, please check out the additional resources section that come with this presentation. The section includes hyperlinks useful for application of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thank you so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Overcoming Barriers in Plan Implementation"

(00:00-00:12) Intro

(00:13-00:56) My First Loop

(00:57-02:06) Barriers For Teachers

(02:07-03:05) Barriers For Others

(03:06-03:44) Tips

(03:45-04:28) Food For Thought/Summary

Additional Resources

Critical Issue: Implementing Site-Based Management to Support Student Achievement

This article outlines the important considerations in implementing site based management, and how to overcome challenges.

Meeting Five Critical Challenges of High School Reform​: Lessons from Research on Three Reform Models

This article provides suggestions based upon research from the implementation of SBI and reform in several different schools.