Initial Implementation: Pave the Road

In This Section
This section helps teachers verify their standards aligned units and lessons include critical features of UDL, with a specific focus on teacher-to-student level interactions. It includes instruction and guidance in academic language across K-12 to help teachers reach Initial Installation level of practice. Student work samples are provided with evaluation criteria to help practitioners use protocols that contain standards-based criteria to score student work and determine progress and proficiency. Finally, this section provides resources for leaders on factors that contribute to systemic change.

By the time a school or district is ready to begin Initial Implementation, individual teachers and early adopters have begun paving the way for others by honing their practice in delivering universally designed learning targets, assessments, and aligned units of study. In Initial Implementation, the leadership and implementation team must now harness this momentum and instill the work across all staff and school system. They also work to help teams explicitly measure, communicate, and nurture system-wide change.

In regard to data, leadership and implementation teams gather and identify what student performance looks like and use this student-level data in decision-making. They create processes and infrastructure, and use data to ensure the school attains a quality standard and fidelity that is sustained by all staff. Data drives continuous improvement cycles to strengthen implementation and deliver supplemental supports as intended.

The first step in each stage of this process is to check understanding of key concepts before moving on. A self-assessment is available which reflects critical activities at the exploration stage that have the greatest likelihood of leading to full and sustainable implementation. Please complete the assessment before moving into the information that follows.

Open the Initial Implementation Self-Assessment.

Using Results of Self-Assessment
If you indicated the majority of critical activities have been completed, make note of which ones you have remaining and work with your team to address them. Use the key concepts to assist you in completing initial implementation for the remaining critical activities.

For all critical activities that are fully in place, carry on with the self-assessment in the full implementation stage. Remember, if you skip any of the critical activities outlined in self-assessment, you will likely have to revisit them. Implementation efforts may stall when leaders move too quickly through initial implementation.

Anticipate some bumps in the road during this stage, as staff is dealing with new processes and practices that may initially feel awkward. This is predictable. Expecting to see improved performance results immediately, before staff feel fully competent, could jeopardize the effort and may even lead staff to abandon the practices.

For items that are partially in place, or for which installation is not complete, use the key concept pages to support completion of preparing both staff and the organization to serve students. It is normal to have some critical features of the standards, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), or Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) in exploration while others are being installed or  initially implemented.

Moving to Initial Implementation
This section will help you understand the major concepts related to moving from installation to initial implementation. Key concepts not only focus on Leadership and Implementation team roles and functions in moving a building from installation to initial implementation, but on the teacher-to-student-level interactions.

The work is about making sure we move from individual teachers and early adopters, who are honing their practice, to systemic implementation. Teams have to explicitly measure, communicate and nurture system-wide change, creating processes, infrastructure, and using data to be sure there is attainment of a quality standard that is sustained by all.

Tools and resources cover three main themes:

  • Using data to drive implementation and fidelity embedded from the leadership to classroom level. The role of data in driving continuous improvement cycles is to strengthen implementation.
  • Building units and lessons that:
    • Include critical features of UDL.
    • Include specific instruction and guidance in academic language across K-12. 
    • Deliver supplemental supports as intended.
    • Use protocols with standards-based criteria for scoring student work. Use illustrative student work samples with evaluation criteria for determining progress and proficiency.
    • Include professional development that arises when evaluation criteria of student work and student examples are first being generated.

Implementation Concepts You Need to Know
Implementation isn’t a single event. The webinar on Implementation Stages picks up at installation and walks users through what can be expected from installation to initial implementation.
If you have not already reviewed the two resources below, please do so before continuing.

SISEP Implementation Science Webinar Series ( This site offers a series of four 60-minute webinars. Each explores strategies and resources needed to engage and support district implementation capacity. The series is organized around the four ACTIVE Implementation Frameworks: Stages, Drivers, Cycles, and Teams.