Leadership and Implementation Team
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) recognizes that simultaneously implementing the Minnesota English Language Arts (ELA) Standards, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) is a complex task that requires multiple people to coordinate technical knowledge across systems and organizational structures. Individuals may hold effective leadership skills and the knowledge needed to carry out a successful implementation; however, individuals come and go within organizations.

In order to achieve full and sustained implementation, it is essential to distribute and coordinate the skills among a team of individuals. For the purposes of this toolkit, we will refer to those with authority and responsibility to act as a “leadership and implementation team.” Leadership and implementation teams will be composed of members who represent diverse roles and functions within an organization.

In the beginning, it is highly likely that each effort may have its own leadership and implementation team. By the time teachers are expected to implement each of the critical components of standards, UDL, and MTSS with students, the leadership and implementation teams should minimally have a coordinating structure or already be merged into a single team.

The main role of leadership and implementation team members at the school and district level is to carefully select and prepare internal operations and systems to implement the state ELA standards and to enable staff to understand and help students achieve those standards. These teams should also coordinate and guide implementation of the standards using UDL and MTSS to create equivalent access for all students.

Unlike leadership teams in charge of oversight and approval, the mission of a leadership and implementation team is to actively manage and monitor the effectiveness of staff and systems as they implement standards, UDL, and MTSS. Leadership and implementation teams will be required communicate with stakeholders and other teams; to help everyone understand the change, the plan, and what is expected of them; and to chart a clear course that all stakeholders understand.

They will use their responsibility and authority to act to establish infrastructure supports, coordinate planning, and use multiple forms of data to determine next steps. Effective implementation teams ensure that all staff implement the changes necessary to realize the benefits of the standards, UDL, and MTSS for all students. Again, the most important and defining feature of a leadership and implementation team is the collection and use of data to continuously improve functioning of the organizational system and the staff.

In the Exploration stage of implementation, a leadership and implementation team works to translate the vision into clearly defined and understandable behaviors that staff can follow on a day-to-day basis. These behaviors give ALL students access and help them achieve high rates of growth in the standards. During the Exploration stage, implementation teams compare new standards to existing practice and consider how new strategies will meet the needs of their students. Supporting data and compelling rationales must be communicated to staff to build their awareness and “buy-in” for the change effort.

The implementation team should assess staff understanding of ELA Standards, UDL, and MTSS and determine what infrastructure components are already in place to support staff. Once clear definitions are established and priorities for implementing the new standards are determined, the implementation team begins allocating resources for training and coaching.

Finally, it is critical for members of the team to use data rather than hunches, anecdotes or prior methods of selecting innovations to make implementation decisions. Sending individuals to professional development does not automatically translate to comprehensive professional development, nor does obtaining materials alone constitute curriculum development. Using data to justify and prioritize needs and to assess readiness is a defining feature of effective standards implementation and is a defining behavior of leadership and implementation teams. These behaviors have to be championed and safeguarded at the district, regional, and state levels for as long as it takes to reach full and sustainable implementation.

Resources for the Implementation Frameworks

Module 1: An Overview of Active Implementation Frameworks (http://implementation.fpg.unc.edu/module-1). The Active Implementation Hub is a free, online learning environment recommended to be used by leadership and implementation teams to explore and learn about the five frameworks  involved in active implementation and scaling up of programs and innovations. The first module will provide an overview of the frameworks. Explore all five frameworks to learn about their role and function.

Leadership Through an Implementation Lens
. (http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/EdExc/BestPrac/ImpleEffecPrac/CoreImpComp/049090). This three-page tool is designed for teams preparing to manage implementation. The question-and-answer format helps teams understand the key components of how roles and functions of leadership and implementation teams differ from oversight roles and responsibilities.

Stages of Implementation Analysis (http://signetwork.org/content_pages/176-implementation-science-scaling-up). This tool, under Assessments, provides the team with the opportunity to plan for and/or assess the use of stage-based activities to improve the success of implementation efforts for EBPs or evidence-informed innovations. The tool can be used to assess current stage activities (e.g. “We are in the midst of Exploration”) or past efforts related to a stage (e.g. “We just completed most of Installation? How did we do? What did we miss?).

Tools to Support the Development of a Coherent and Aligned System (http://implementation.fpg.unc.edu/sites/implementation.fpg.unc.edu/files/resources/SISEP-ToolsToSupportTheDevelopmentOfACoherentAndAlignedSystem-02-2011.pdf) is a nine-page document that provides detailed guidance on the development of a scope of work or team charter and a communication protocol (two important documents that most leadership and implementation teams will need to create). This tool was developed by the State Implementation and Scaling Up of Evidence-Based Practices Center (SISEP).

The District Initiative Inventory (http://implementation.fpg.unc.edu/resources/district-initiative-inventory) is a two-page planning tool produced by the Active Implementation Hub. Both district- and school-level teams may use this tool to guide their review of past and current programs in order to get a clear picture of successful strategies and challenges along with existing mandates and resource commitments.

Specific Applications of the Implementation Frameworks

ImpleMap: Exploring the Implementation Landscape (http://implementation.fpg.unc.edu/resources/implemap) is a seven-part video series from Scale-Up of Evidence-based Practices (SISEP) that explains the process of gathering information for an RtI implementation.