Implement – “Go Slow to Go Fast”

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step in the right direction.

We appreciate the challenges that go into a new plan or into implementing a new initiative with fidelity. Typically, implementing new practices with fluency and depth require change. We appreciate that change is hard. Consistently, the research literature says that most implementation in schools falls short of what’s required to impact student learning. Too often, schools move from one initiative to the next before achieving a sufficient depth of systemic improvement, creating a cycle that leads to initiative fatigue and a “this too shall pass” mentality.

Given the bleak state of change in schools, Ed Direction’s team acknowledges and addresses the typical change challenges that schools face. A cornerstone of our transformation model is tightening up any loose coupling among personnel, teams, and processes in schools that plague implementation efforts.

Implementing Fewer, Higher-Leverage Strategies

What we’ve learned is that schools can expect 3 to 12 times the impact on student learning when they implement fewer, high-leverage strategies with fluency and depth. We have found that, while every plan is personalized, this includes: A focus on strong, healthy, and intentional Professional Learning Communities (PLCs); enabling administrators and an established School Transformation Teams (STTs) to support these with relevant resources; and implementing evidence-based instruction with fidelity.

Implementation Teams

Our model first focuses on reestablishing key teams, helping them to create norms, agendas, and processes that lead to more effective implementation.
In most cases, we don’t create new teams, we simply repurpose existing teams. We ensure that each is working toward the same goal so that together, the school teams can create the change required to improve student learning.


Second, we align district and school practices so that all support systems are working in harmony. We authored the “Collaborative School Improvement” process and helped author “Data Wise.” These are both improvement processes that can align support systems, enabling deep and fluent implementation. The district role is essential and our model offers significant support to districts so that the work of school transformation persists after Ed Direction is gone.

Deep Implementation

Finally, our transformation model calls for selecting and implementing fewer, higher leverage initiatives, and implementing them well. Part of the implementation problem in schools is the well-intentioned, but damaging inclination to take on too much – to ask teachers to do so many new things that they are unable to do any of the new things well.

These three components of Ed Direction’s implementation model lead schools to great implementation. And the research suggests that great implementation can yield up to 12 times the impact to student learning. This means that the same initiative implemented well at one school can be 12 times as effective as it is at another school where implementation is more typical.

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