As an educational leader trying to turn around a school or take a school to a new level, the process starts with a school improvement plan. To create that plan, you and your team will use a lot of energy and expertise. You will invest your time, your passion, and your political capital in crafting specific strategies and approaches. In many cases, you will also engaged outside experts and partners to help create your plan.
But often, we don’t hit our desired student outcomes and can’t understand why. We try to look back in time to work out what parts of our plan were actually implemented, what parts didn’t get implemented, and what impact any of it had on our students.
Most improvement plans fail because life in a school or a district is busy. And even when you have the best of intentions, the improvement plans never get fully implemented. As an educational leader, you get pulled in many different directions. You need to educate your students despite the competing interests of your board, community members, families, and the regulations / requirements required by multiple initiatives. These competing priorities can create a lack of clarity and alignment in your district or school and there is just not enough time to do everything.
Without a process and a set of tools to drive your strategic or school improvement plan forward, successful implementation is nearly impossible.
So how can a progress management tool help you lead more effectively? At RespondAbility we think about it in four areas: 1) goal setting, 2) accountability, 3) visibility, and 4) clear decision making.
Just sharing goals is not enough. You need to set specific goals for specific team members that are time bound and that are understood and relevant to that person. The goals also need to be measurable and visible to the individual and their supporting team. You need to share your goals in a system that is always on line so that the entire team can see the big picture.
Then, we need to stay committed to the goals. That requires accountability. The strategic plan needs to be converted into a playbook. The leader needs to know clearly who is responsible for the tasks required to achieve stated goals. And the person responsible for tasks needs to keep the leader informed on a regular basis of the actions being taken to achieve those goals. You need the ability to keep score. To do this, you need to establish metrics and goals. And then you need to keep score on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
You won’t improve what you don’t measure. Keeping score is powerful way of keeping the entire staff motivated by:
- Tracking the work being done
- Tracking the impact of the work on student outcomes
- All within a given timeframe
One of the most important features of a progress management tool is that it allows you to keep score on a frequent basis with metrics.
This quick 6 minute demo of RespondAbility’s Progress Management Software demonstrates how you correlate metrics to actions to improve student results
As educators, we know that to change outcomes for schools or districts we need to be able to change the adult behavior that impacts those outcomes. This means we need the ability to drill down into that data in multiple subject areas, multiple grade levels, multiple departments, and for multiple teachers within those departments.
Measuring outcomes is not enough. The most critical capability is the ability to correlate what educator actions and behaviors are impacting those outcomes in specific student populations. RespondAbility provides the reporting capability and capacity to see those correlations. Below are two examples of how a progress management system with easy to read dashboards empowers educators to see the correlation of their actions to the impact it is having on student outcomes. The first dashboards shows a tactic that is working (walk-throughs). The second shows a tactic (lesson plan alignment) that needs to be addressed.
Walk Throughs Are Happening and are Correlated to the Desired Outcome
Lesson Plan Alignment is Happening but Is Not Correlated to the Desired Outcome
Smarter Decision Making
The power of keeping score with metrics combined with the ability to correlate action to impact leads to smarter decision making. With this level of visibility you have a track record of the trends that are leading to success. You know you are on track and should continue this task.
Just as importantly, you understand as a team what is not driving the desired outcomes. If an action is not having a positive impact or if it’s not having enough of a positive impact on students, your team can collaborate to try a different tactic.
“What is Required to Lead a School Improvement Plan” Webcast
In this 12 minute educational webcast Gavin Doughty, Founder and the Inventor of RespondAbility, will discuss the challenges and barriers a leader faces implementing a strategic plan. He will then outline how to create a culture that provides the visibility and processes required for lasting success.
Success in student outcomes can sometimes come down to addressing the details. With this level of insight you and your team will have the capacity to address the details in a collaborative space that is supportive.
Collaboration is empowering. RespondAbility empowers your team to work together to strategize, to problem solve, and then quickly identify targeted strategies.
RespondAbility focuses on helping two types of schools:
- Schools on a short timeline that need an immediate catalyst to expedite the work inside their school – facilitating rapid progression with student outcomes, cultural outcomes, and data generation that will prove those outcomes are occurring.
- Schools that are at the precipice of tipping over into being exemplary in their district – they need that one push to go from good to great.
RespondAbility is a cloud management software that helps Districts and Schools successfully implement their school improvement plans. Once you have a plan we help you:
- Turn your school improvement plan into a living document
- Implement and collaborate on school improvement actions
- Monitor and adjust your school improvement plan based on the impact to student outcomes