The primary role of the leadership and implementation team at the Installation and Initial Implementation stages is to design and roll-out training to staff with responsibilities for implementing the English Language Arts (ELA) Standards; creating functional changes in schedules, resource allocation, and meeting structures; and collecting and analyzing data in order to determine staff’s readiness, competency, and authority to function in their designated roles.
An essential success factor at this point is to ensure that educators develop a clear vision and articulation of the critical features needed to implement the ELA Standards. These features include the process of deeply understanding the standards. This means, what students have to know and do, the learning targets for the end of each grade level, the critical learning and thinking skills involved, and the content and concepts to be included in each grade level. Also essential at this stage is the need for teaching and support staff to have a full understanding of how skills, concepts, and mastery develop in depth and complexity across the grades, also called vertical alignment.
At the Installation stage, leadership and implementation teams will understand the importance of establishing a quality standard of adult learning targets with respect to what it means to assess and teach the standards. This is important so that horizontal alignment and fidelity can be attained.
During installation, creating staff capacity, and defining the role and function of coaching, is critical. Implementation teams will need to carefully safeguard the role and function of all those with coaching responsibilities as well as hold staff accountable for using the coaches effectively.
The role of coaching is critical in ensuring fidelity of implementation of ELA Standards, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). The same process of clearly defining the critical features needed to implement the ELA Standards and training adults for uniform and shared understanding of each feature is applicable to UDL and MTSS.
Also essential to a successful implementation effort is a fully functional data support system. The system must provide data in a timely manner so that leadership teams can make decisions to support adults in gathering, using, and adjusting assessment and instruction. Effective leadership and implementation teams use data to track student progress and performance at the classroom level and through the school system, and to establish high-performance expectations for adults.
Leadership teams will need to provide a high level of protection, problem-solving, and support between the Installation and Initial Implementation stages. Leaders will have to protect implementation to move forward as intended and prevent innovations or dropping of critical features in the early stages. This requires the capacity to complete rapid-cycle problem-solving, as well as more long-term problem-solving cycles to:
Leadership and implementation teams need to safeguard against over-estimating implementation. Creation of a manual or strategic plan is necessary but insufficient for installation. Pressing forward with expectations of implementation without securing resources or providing sufficient training and ongoing coaching can jeopardize achieving the full and intended benefits. Additional threats to fully realizing and sustaining the benefits of ELA Standards, UDL, or MTSS implementation include:
We strongly recommend coordinating clear understanding within and across teams responsible for leading implementation efforts in UDL and MTSS alongside the standards. Creation of a unified team actively managing all three (Standards, UDL and MTSS) may be more manageable in the long term.