Key Action III.1

Work the plan and gather data

What is the goal?

The goal of this key action is to enact the plan you developed in Phase II, observe what works and what does not, and listen to feedback. In particular, this key action is about effectively enacting your plans for supporting teachers that you outlined in Key Actions II.3-II.5.

Why this key action is important

Plans tend to fall along a spectrum. On one end, they are printed documents, put away in a binder on the shelf and gathering dust, and on the other end, they are living, breathing drivers of the work that are shared across a team. This key action is where the rubber meets the road and everyone begins to enact the plan. It can be difficult to lose momentum or focus when confronted with the daily pulls and pressures of school life. This key action builds on the plans determined at the end of Phase II for progress monitoring, and focuses on consistent reflection. One of the differentiators between successful implementers and implementers who struggled was their ability to support teacher practice. The work of the Three Pillars of Teacher Support is challenging because of the diversity of factors involved such as instructional culture, team expertise, structural support, etc. As you go through this key action, it can be helpful to return to your plans in Key Actions II.3-II.5 to see where to improve. In the next key action, teams come together to compare notes, reflect, and adjust. In this key action, the team’s charge is to do the work, observe the outcome, and listen closely to all involved.

Explanation of language

We use the term check-in to refer to a meeting of the Implementation Support Team focused on monitoring progress and solving any problems.

steps

guiding questions

notes & resources

  • 1.
    What is the plan?
  • 2.
    What are the key deadlines? Are we on track?
  • 3.
    What needs to happen to get the work done at a high level of quality?
  • 4.
    What, if anything, is pulling focus? What needs to change to get the work done well?
  • 5.
    When are we checking in as a team to make sure the plan is on track?
  • 6.
    What questions do we need to discuss?
  • This step hinges on the work of Phase II – specifically, relying on your Implementation Plan assembled across all of the key actions in Phase II.
  • The resource Project Planning Check-In Agenda provides a sample agenda for a project planning check-in – a dedicated time to bring the Implementation Support Team together and allow for implementation problem solving and day-to-day discussion in service of the plan.
  • Training, planning, and coaching is about 1) setting up the structures to ensure that these supports happen (which you planned for in Phase II) and 2) making sure these supports are effective and leading to growth towards your goals. In Step II.3.E: Establish guidance for common use and customization, you diagnosed your professional learning system using the Practice What You Teach Checklist for Schools and Systems. Revisit this checklist to guide your teacher support work.
  • 1.
    How is implementation going?
  • 2.
    What is going well?
  • 3.
    Where are we having challenges?
  • 4.
    What else do we need to see?
  • Be sure to observe at every level of implementation to gather a picture. The resource Implementation Observation Guidance is a list of the key interactions and look fors that early implementers benefited from observing in order to understand how things were going. Some early implementers created shared documents to pool observations and impressions.
  • 5.
    What are we hearing?
  • 6.
    What questions are we getting?
  • 7.
    What can we answer easily? What questions are more challenging?
  • 8.
    How are stakeholders responding to the materials?
  • 9.
    What concerns can we address easily? What concerns are more challenging?
  • You can use the resource Implementation Observation Log to log questions and observe trends.
  • Listen to questions, concerns, and feedback. Listen for the pattern underneath the questions and listen for where the concerns are coming from.
  • Read the Phase III section of the District Vignette for a narrative example of common challenges that arise and how to respond to them.
  • 1.
    How are things going across our implementation plan? What has taken place? How did it go?
  • 2.
    What questions are we getting?
  • 3.
    What can we celebrate and share?
  • 4.
    What can we refine and adjust?
  • 5.
    What else do we want to observe and listen for before our next meeting?
  • 6.
    What is the next set of work coming up?
  • Teams benefit from meeting briefly but regularly to support each other in the work of the plan. These quick check-ins allow for quick problem solving and adjustments. Quarterly, the team benefits from a broader stepback to take stock on the whole story and make bigger adjustments, which you will plan in Key Action III.2: Step back to reflect on progress and challenges.
  • The Project Planning Check-In Agenda is a sample agenda for regular team check-ins, including ones that early implementers used.

Mini Workbook for This Key Action

Download Workbook III.1