Results Driven Implementation
“Results Driven” Implementation leads to measurable improvements in student learning and wellbeing for every learner for whom we have responsibility. When schools or systems take on a “results driven” approach, they ensure that professional skill building includes awareness, understanding and application. It goes beyond those three foundations to include a direct connection to learning results.
“Results Driven” Implementation ensures that professional learning actually makes a significant and sustainable difference in student learning and system success. Every school and district has the power to move beyond old practices and commit to the creation and maintenance of a professional culture that is, nurtured by deep knowledge about teaching and learning.
Educators today have the opportunity and resources to understand learning and teaching more deeply than ever before. We are informed by neuroscience, by the impact of social-emotional environments, by the power of personalized learning…and much more.
“Results Driven” Implementation takes what we know about our students’ learning journey and adapts it to quality professional learning for educators. This ensures that educators engage with professional learning when it is needed, to address a specific issue identified by the learner or by a cohort of learners. Personalized professional learning is learner driven.
A Systems Thinking professional learning approach requires:
1. Time – Time is needed for teachers to meet for collaboration and time for teachers to meet for professional development sessions – as a requirement rather than a voluntary option. Systemic– Quality professional learning must be consistent and works best when there is a district-wide approach to what professional topics are being taught and how they are being delivered. Appropriate differentiation is required to accommodate individual teacher differences and needs at each grade level.
2. Science of the Content – needs to be part of the professional learning. Quality instruction is extremely complex. Each instructional content area is built upon the science of learning. Teachers need to understand the scientific research base in order to practice the methods and strategies with fidelity and confidence.
3. Strategies and methods– Teachers require access to external resource people with proven ability to share, model and mentor effective methods or practices. Real professional growth requires opportunities for teachers to explore how the teacher can apply the strategies.
4. Alignment – Whenver possible, new methods and practices should be aligned with school and district current practice, resources available, and culture. It is not reasonable to expect educators to make multiple changes all at once.
5. A PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT process must to be in place. For too long, schools and systems have offered random, “one off” professional sessions that lack any continuity or followup. We now know that once new professional practice has been shared, it is essential to plan how to implement these new approaches, actually implement them, review and reflect on the results and then make adjustments to build even greater success going forward. This is a fundamental learning process (for adults and for students) and must be built into the implementation planning.
6. There must be opportunities and expectations for collegial collaboration and feedback throughout the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT PROCESS.
7. Ongoing coaching by a skilled resource person is needed as part of the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT process. In addition, one cannot over-estimate the value and impact of an onsite instructional coach with skill in cross-curricular approaches and sensitivity to current system norms.
8. A blended learning solution – We can’t go back. We have had to make significant adjustments during the Pandemic. We have learned what works and what does not work. Technology is NOT a final answer, but it is part of a new solution. Web-based live and interactive as well as ON DEMAND opportunities and face to face learning environments are effective in providing additional, supportive professional learning for educators teachers to further investigate instructional approaches and pursue individual interests.
9. A connection to the growth plan processes is essential. Implementing a “Results Driven” approach should align with current policy or contractual requirements, not be a separate approach. Whenever possible – professional learning should be part of a capacity building teacher or principal growth plan process.
10. Quality professional learning is job-embedded rather than limited to academic theory. Professional learning initiatives MUST BE directly related – aligned – to school and district school improvement initiatives and provide opportunities for practical use in classrooms.
11. A school or district approach to professional learning must be directly related to the highest priority needs of learners as indicated by evidence of current results. By linking school or district professional growth to the areas of student performance most in need of attention allows the system to use its resources (time, people, finances) effectively to achieve the measurable improvements in student learning and well being that every child needs and deserves.
Why Results-Driven Implementation?
What are the benefits? How does this help school leaders transform the school or district into a Learning Organization?
Because we insist on meeting these performance standards which include a PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT approach, we can measure the results of what we do. Each PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT Cycle produces a result – growth or, an understanding of why the growth/learning we had planned for didn’t work and an opportunity to correct our method so that next time there WILL BE GROWTH, or the next time after that. Hopefully we will see the growth soon, but no matter what, eventually we WILL see growth or improvements in student learning and/or well-being, or improvements in processes we are using to enable improvements in student learning and well-being.
1. We can connect our professional learning program directly to student learning outcomes and process improvements they are aimed at improving and we measure it. We can now know whether or not the professional learning worked – or did not work. We can evaluate the professional learning in terms of how it helped us in achieving our aim. Knowing this enables Profound Learning – the knowledge and ability to get better and getting better. We can know how to improve our professional learning programs BASED on appropriate measurement.
2. For the very first time school districts can measure, in meaningful terms, the ROI (Return on Investment) – this financial investment resulted in this much improvement in our clearly defined aim and specific objectives expected as a result of this specific professional learning that was provided. We can now make informed decisions on professional learning investments moving forward.
3. Because all “Results Driven Implementation” is aligned in a systemic way to all other professional learning and improvement efforts we can stop the madness of i)implementation overload – an overwhelming array of well-intended events, projects, initiatives that can exhaust and confuse. It can also eliminate the “Flavour of the Day” PD syndrome often experienced in school districts. Again, a range of PD events, pushed into schedules for a wide range of sources, that are unrelated, short term, ever changing and seem disconnected with each other but also, frequently with the real needs of teachers and principals.
4. Because “Results Driven Implementation” is ALWAYS connected to the aim or specific objectives it provides a clear purpose to all those participating. People understand WHY they are doing this, how it fits in to their work with students. It automatically answers what can be a devasting, debilitating question; Why am I doing this?
5. It provides for ownership. “Results Driven” Implementation is an inside job. It is not pushed on teachers and principals from the state, district or anywhere else. The professional developed needed is determined through district, school and teacher leadership of project teams with a Project Charter they developed, based on what they perceived they wanted to achieve, for their purpose and how they want their progress measured.
6. It motivates! Because short term (usually weekly) PDCA Cycles produce small, incremental, visual, measured improvements teachers can see and can share with colleagues we can all see measured progress. This is an enormous motivator – particularly when teachers can see measured growth – directly connected to the project and the professional learning. The Japanese continuous improvement people have a word for it: Kaizen – small, incremental improvements that combine to create “big bang” impact on the aim of the organization.
7. It’s taught. Systems Thinkers know “Results Driven Implementation” is a discipline which involves skill development and practice. Although school personnel often have a natural talent or skill set for collaboration and collegiality this professional learning system requires skill sets that are consistently, systemically practiced. These include:
- Collaboration Skills
- Collegial Applications
- Consensus Based Decision
- Shared Leadership
- The Power of Team
- Meeting Skills
- Using Data to drive team decisions
- The application of a scientific approach – PDCA
- Strategies, tools used by
- Systems Thinkers to solve problems
….and many more!
These skills are taught in a “Learn By Doing” approach. Teachers and principals learn about these skills and apply them to their work. This is one of the important things we know about how adults learn. It is important for teachers to have opportunities to apply their learning to their work with their children.
Leadership Development is taught to all. School principals have THE key role in leading the initiative, applying the skills with fidelity, and ensuring the initiative achieves its’ aim.
All these things applied with fidelity over time create a Collaborative School Culture. Michael Fullan said; “Culture Trumps Everything”. Systems Thinking and “Just in Time” professional learning programs provide a roadmap, a compass and a toolkit for school and district leaders to create a culture of collaboration and establish their districts as true Learning Organizations.