The Achieve Model
“Achieve “ is defined as “to successfully bring about or reach (a desired objective, level, or result) by effort, skill, or courage.” Educational administrators at the building and district level are charged with the all encompassing task of school (district) improvement. School and district improvement is a comprehensive endeavor that addresses a myriad of areas including academics, behaviors, graduation rates, participation in Advanced Placement courses, and facilities improvements to name a few. District administrators are charged with developing strategic plans that are multi-year endeavors and schools are charged with developing school improvement plans on a yearly basis that are aligned with the district strategic plan. The issue that has occurred in many districts and schools with strategic plans and school improvement plans is the focus has been on “what” will be done to improve and not enough time and focus are placed on the “how” it will be achieved. Thus implementation of the “what” has often limited district/school improvement because the how has not been taken into consideration. Thus deep implementation never occurs.
The Achieve Model is aimed at supporting districts and school administrators on the “how” of their improvement plans by creating Implementation Success Action Plans. Balanced Leadership Coaching (coaching and consulting) is utilized in the development, implementation, monitoring and adjusting of the Implementation Success Action plan aimed at school or district improvement.
The Achieve Model is focused on the implementation of the “what”; meaning what initiative was selected to move the district or school forward in attaining the vision. Balanced Leadership Coaching focuses both on the leadership qualities and capabilities of the leader in the development of the implementation plan as well as when putting the implementation plan into action. Balanced Leadership Coaching is not just about the “how” you implement the initiative but it delves deep into personal leadership attributes of the leaders which can make or break the implementation of an initiative. Once the District or school selects the initiative that will support them in attaining the goal it is necessary to build commitment around the initiative. Building commitment starts with why the initiative was selected.
The starting point for the Achieve model is for the administrator or team to prioritize their focus based on what data and evidence is showing as a priority. Both district Strategic Plans and School Improvement plans establish goals but the key is “what” initiative or action will the district or school do to attain the goal(s). Implementation plans should be established for each initiative or action that will be put into place at the district or school to achieve their goals. There are some initiatives that are implemented District-wide and others are based on the needs of each school.
For the sake of increasing understanding, most all districts have a goal to increase academic achievement for their students and/or to close the academic achievement gap between certain groups of students. Each school would establish a goal supporting attainment of the District Goal based on their prioritized needs. The Bethel Elementary School might establish the academic goal of increasing the percent of students in grades 3-5 proficient in ELA from 67% to 78% and in math from 59% to 70% and the Reynolds Middle School might establish the goal of increasing the percent of students proficient in ELA (6-8) from 54% to 68% and in math from 63% to 75%. It all depends on where each school is at and where they want to be at the end of the year.
Depending on if the initiative is a District-wide initiative or a school initiative, would determine who would develop the implementation plan. For the sake of explanation, Bethel Elementary School has selected the implementation of utilizing learning intentions and success criteria in the classroom as the “what” to achieve their school goal. Determining what initiative will be implemented is just the starting point. As they are selecting an initiative that will move the school or district closer to the achieving the goal building commitment to the initiative is important to sustain momentum in implementation.
As part of the Focus/Vision portion is also the establishment of why this particular initiative was selected. There is always a reason behind the selection of the initiative. As long as there is a powerful why behind the initiative, in particular research supporting the use of the initiative, the client will remained committed to the focus area and follow through with the implementation. If the purpose is not strong enough or is a mandate with little meaning , the commitment to follow through will diminish.
Once the commitment to initiative has been fleshed out. It is necessary to gain clarity on the implementation of the initiative. What is the vision, in detail of how the school/district will look like, sound like, or feel like when teachers and students are utilizing learning intentions and success criteria in the classroom?
After the vision for the initiative implementation has been established it is time to determine the present reality. Are there any components of implementation that are already in place or prerequisite knowledge that staff possess? Where is the school at in relation to where the school wants to be in the implementation of learning intentions and success criteria? It is necessary to know where you are starting from so you can determine the gap and then how to close the gap between the reality and the vision.
Implementation Success Action Plan
At this point the administrator/team have a sound understanding of their vision of the implementation of utilizing and learning intentions and success criteria, why they selected learning intentions and success criteria, and the present reality of learning intentions and success criteria in their school. The next step is to determine what needs to be accomplished to close the gap between the present status and deep implementation-their vision. At this point the brainstorming of action steps commences followed by sequencing the action steps into a logical order for success implementation.
Implementation Successes Action Plans for a school would include the following components:
- The district goal followed by the school goal
- Overarching strategies (communications, professional development, Common Language etc.)
- Action Steps (specific)
- Who is responsible
- Due Date
- Resources/Materials (needed to complete the action step)
- Next steps (after the action has been completed it may generate next steps that need to be incorporated into the Implementation Success Action Plan).
- Monitoring Component – This is a separate component of the plan that focuses on determining what evidence can be gathered to see how effect the initiative is being implemented and its impact. There is effect data which is produced by students (test scores, or behaviors etc.) and there is cause data, meaning the actions of adults. Monitoring then leads to making adjustments to the Implementation Action Success Plan.
Implementation Success Action Plans are living documents. They do not sit on shelves and collect dust. They are planned, implemented, monitored and adjusted throughout implementation. Balanced Leadership Coaching ensures that the plans stay alive and action steps are followed through to achieve deep implementation.
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