Build on What You Have in Place and Be Honest About Where Your Gaps Are

There is no such thing as a blank slate. We are always building on what has come before, even when we are trying to create something very new. As you chart the journey ahead, think about where you have been.

Think about lessons learned from previous change efforts. What successful changes have you managed in your school or district? Build on these, and tell these stories of success when people are in doubt. Where have you stumbled in past change efforts? How can you learn from these lessons?

Think about your current systems and structures. What do you have in place that you can build on to create a more student-centered, personalized learning model? Not everything has to be new! What systems and structures are antiquated? Which may be antithetical to a student-centered, personalized model? What will you have to get rid of?

Think about where your people are. Are your teachers, students, families, and partners ready for change? Where do you have advocates and leaders, and how will you engage them? Are the adults in your system able to develop and maintain a growth mindset? Do your teachers have time to collaborate and plan? Think about the supports people will need to navigate the change, and whether you have those support systems in place.

Questions to Consider

  • What strengths can you build on, including successful change efforts and existing systems?
  • What past challenges can you learn from? How can you use these to avoid future missteps?
  • What do you have in place that is antithetical to you change goals? Where are you getting in your own way? What can you change or eliminate up front to make the work to come that much easier?
  • How much learning and growing will people need to do? What supports do you have in place for them?