1. CORE VALUES–S’MORE VALUES
Too often, the school’s core values hang on walls around the building and become invisible. If the vision for your school is a deserved reputation for excellence, then a laser focus on your core values is essential. This means that all proposed changes are tightly aligned with these values. Stayed focused on them; don’t get sidetracked!
2. ANGER TOWARD RESISTERS
Yes, some teachers are resistant to any change, but most will be supportive if their concerns are addressed. It should be expected and planned for that your staff will have legitimate concerns about the innovation. The following brief video looks at the Stages of Concern that teachers go through during the implementation of a new program.
3. IGNORE HARD CORE RESISTERS
Hard core resisters can undermine the project. Give special attention to them. Schedule meetings with them (individually) where you listen to their reasons for opposing the innovation. Explain your rationale for promoting the new program, with an emphasis on the benefits to students. See if you can come to some agreement. At the very least, they will feel that you want their support and took the time to listen to them. However, at some point, you might have to say, “the expectation is that all teachers will faithfully implement the program.” Who said that the job of principal was easy?
You just came back from a conference where you heard about a great program that will give your school lots of positive publicity. A committee is created to further investigate the program. At a faculty meeting, you energetically announce that this PR Program will be the focus for the coming school year. Because of your enthusiasm for this project, the staff does not challenge you. But with many struggling students in their classrooms; a new math curriculum to implement, how can you expect them to fully support an innovation that has little relevance to them?
5. YOU HAVE IDEAS? WHO KNEW?
Seeking ideas from staff sends the message that you respect them. Its just not realistic to expect a commitment to the innovation if the people tasked with implementing it, had no voice in shaping it. And without their participation during the planning stage, how likely is it that they will fully understand it? And finally, how likely is success?
6. LACK OF SUPPORT
Even small changes require effort. More significant change, such as implementing a new reading program can send some over the edge. Support is essential during the initial implementation phase. Ways to provide support may include: coaching, teacher-to-teacher visitations, and follow-up workshops.
7. ALL IS GOOD
How do you know that all is fine with the new program unless a monitoring mechanism is in place? This mechanism should include specific criteria that assesses fidelity to the program. Make adjustments where needed.
8. CHANGE IS NOT THAT TOUGH
Let’s recognize that the changes we made in our own lives were often difficult to make. Change in a complex organization, like a school, is harder. It requires a strategy like the one depicted in the diagram at the top of this post. It requires clear thinking and devotion to moving your school toward excellence.