Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Thinking Person, Clker, http://bit.ly/1EmDSQV; Coca Cola, Wikimedia Commons, http://bit.ly/1KyNoJ7; New Coke, Wikimedia Commons, http://bit.ly/1HKiNoa; Blue Man, Clker, http://bit.ly/1BofLkE; People Standing, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1J46LYt
Hi again everyone, and welcome. My name is Gino Sanguiliano. You have no doubt been a part of some sort of change or new initiative in education. In this lesson, we will analyze the connection between capacity building, implementation, and sustaining those new initiatives. So let's get started.
Sometimes new initiatives are poorly planned, ill-prepared, and simply doomed to fail before they even begin. If you're my age or older, I have two words for you that make this point. New Coke.
In 1985 Coca-Cola was losing ground to it's chief rival Pepsi, so they decided to rebrand their product and change the formula. The decision was met with resistance to say the least. 3 months later, they reintroduced their original product and called it Coca-Cola classic. Go figure.
Everyone wants to get better at what they do. We call that continuous improvement. The definition of continuous improvement is a focus on developing, monitoring, and adjusting action plans to meet the district and school vision and mission and goals, and is the primary focus of site-based management and professional learning communities. Various stakeholders including parents, teachers, administrators, and students need to be part of this collaborative process.
The process of continuous improvement includes building the capacity to implement and reach a goal, monitoring the plans, then sustaining effective practices once they're in place. We've all heard the phrase it takes a village. Well in this case, it takes a PLC.
In order to make any organization better, you need to identify the areas that require focus and attention. PLCs are able to do that through action research and collaborative team processes. For instance, a grade-level team may look at their data and notice a drop in reading comprehension. The next step would be for that team to create an action research plan.
Through collaborative learning and sharing and a thorough plan, team members could receive training and support to successfully meet the challenges, thereby increasing the capacity of the team and the self-efficacy of the individual team members. This process empower and strengthens the site-based team and increases their voice and value. The benefits of action research don't end there. Action research also leads to the development of steps and plans to achieve stated goals that are often connected to new initiatives.
Here's an example. A team may adopt and implement a research-based program in order to improve writing. In the capacity building stage, they receive their required training, but then they must also receive ongoing support and checks to ensure that they are implementing the process as intended. During the implementation stage, team members support one another through peer observations, modeling, sharing of practice, and troubleshooting areas of difficulty as they come up. It is the support offered through SBM and PLCs that allow for greater likelihood of fidelity and success when implementing new initiatives and the processes leading to continuous improvement.
A Greek philosopher once said the only thing constant in life is change, and schools certainly epitomize that phrase. Inevitably, the focus on a new initiative will often wane and other initiatives will be adopted. Challenge becomes to ensure that the original initiative continues to be an area of focus and strength.
In order to achieve this, solid organizations like PLCs create a system of planning, monitoring, and feedback cycles to review the continued successful implementation strategies that have proven successful in the past. SBMs and PLCs should strive to work collaboratively in order to connect new initiatives with those strategies and processes that have been deemed effective and necessary in reaching the vision and mission of the school. This type of thinking will strengthen all initiatives.
It's time to review what we covered in this lesson. We defined continuous improvement and looked at how new initiatives are often the result. Then we covered how to build capacity, implementation, and how to sustain those new initiatives. And now for some food for thought. Think back to the last school initiative that you experienced and ask yourself if the advice in this video was adhered to.
Check out the additional resources section that accompany this video. There you'll find links to resources that will help you further understand this topic. Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.
(00:17-00:47) New Coke
(00:48-01:32) Continuous Improvement
(01:33-02:16) Capacity Building
(04:02-04:39) Summary/Food For Thought
Leadership of Inquiry: Building and Sustaining Capacity for School Improvement
This article reports on the findings of principal leaders who build the capacity of their teams and encourage school improvement through the empowerment of site based teams.
Leading & Sustaining School Improvement Initiatives: A Review of Site-Based Research from AISI Cycles 1, 2 and 3
This is an Alberta Initiative for School Improvement study on leading and sustaining initiatives in schools through site based management. This study illustrates how leadership can encourage and empower teams to build capacity and sustain efforts toward school improvement.
Professional Learning Community Capacity Planning Checklist
Los Angeles Unified School District Pilot Schools developed a useful checklist for team planning that focuses on building capacity and continuous improvement. The form is reproducible and can guide important discussion and planning aspects.