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Teacher Assisting a Student


Continual Improvement and Innovation

Building the capacity of people, programs, systems, and communities in order to strengthen schools for all students is the nucleus of any change of practice framework. In order for sustainable, high quality, desired change, focused on continual improvement and innovation to occur in each school and/or district, change management strategies must be situated in a strong community of practice.  



Consists of a community of practice quality model for incremental improvements and breakthrough innovations. The outer ring describes how we approach our work and the stages that are critical processes of transformative change: Assessment, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. The model’s inner ring reflects the four elements that we strive to impact through our efforts:  Improve Practice, Partnership Networks, Strong Workforce, and Knowledge Foundation.

Our professional learning services team uses innovative research-based approaches based on the Six Design Principles of High-Performing Schools to execute our framework by engaging in a community of practice with each school and/or district. High-performing schools create an environment that increases academic, social and emotional success, and an environment of strong school connectedness. 

  • Principle 1: Excellence in Leadership

  • Principle 2: High-Quality Teachers, Instruction, and Professional Learning 

  • Principle 3: Efficient and Effective Organization of Time 

  • Principle 4: Guaranteed, Viable, and Alignment of Curriculum

  • Principle 5: Strong Conditions, Climate and Culture 

  • Principle 6: Engagement with Family and Community Partnerships

Change of Practice-Continual Improvement & Innovation


Stage 1 - Assessment

We conduct assessments to lay the groundwork for building stronger communities of practice to strengthen schools for ALL students. Our Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) is a joint discovery of “gaps” that will identify priorities for change and determine criteria for solutions so that sound decisions can be made. A CNA sets criteria for deciding how best to allocate available money, people, facilities, and other resources leading to action that will improve programs, services, organizational structure, and operations, or a combination of these elements.  

Change of Practice Assessment

Stage 2 - Planning

Very simply put, planning is setting the direction of a goal/objective for an action and then guiding the action to follow the direction. We provide action planning support that builds a community of practice to increase student success. At the end of the planning stage, the school/district has a research-based document that is communicable, actionable, measurable, and adaptable. 


Action Planning Process

Action plans present state to the desired future state. Our Action Planning Process utilizes the “SMARTER” Goal Setting approach adapted from the research of Peter Drucker (1954), George T. Doran (1981), and Robert S. Rubin (2002). Research shows that goal-setting that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, evaluated, and reviewed enables clarity in ideas, focused efforts, productive use of time and resources, and increases goal attainment. Our planning stage also embeds six critical community of practice quality components into the “roadmap” to ensure improvements and breakthrough innovations:

  • A Communication Plan Sends key messages (Vision) to various audiences, ensuring that the plan speaks with one “voice” that is credible to all stakeholders.

  • A Sponsor Roadmap Outlines the specific actions to be taken by district, school, parent, and community leaders across the community of practice.  Sponsorship ensures a champion in words and deeds for the change/innovation.

  • A Professional Development/Training Plan – Builds the critical knowledge and skills needed for the community of practice to work in a new way.  

  • A Coaching Plan Equips administrators and teacher leaders to lead the change within their community of practice. 

  • A Resistance Management Plan Provides a strategy for both proactively and reactively addressing resistance to the change/innovation.  

  • A Measures and Mechanisms Plan to Reinforce Change – Measures how well the change is taking effect.  It is also used to identify and correct gaps and to celebrate success.

Planning-Continual Improvement & Innovation

Stage 3 - Implementation

We engage in the action plan/roadmap with steps, structure, support, services, interventions, processes, and management strategies necessary to put into practice the desired change/innovation, intervention, project, or program for student improvement and success. Our professional learning services team supports the implementation stage as part of the community of practice to ensure improvements and breakthrough innovations through:

  • Professional Development Delivery (eLearning, just-in-time, face-to-face, etc.)

  • Job-Embedded Services with Reflective Coaching

  • Executive Leadership Development and Coaching

  • Classroom Walkthroughs/Instructional Rounds/Learning Walks

  • Community Partnership Connections

  • Collaborative eNetworks

  • Open Education Resources

  • Quarterly Monitoring Highlight Reports

  • Reinforcement Mechanisms (progress monitoring, ongoing training, and coaching)

  • Celebrate milestones and successes

  • Custom school/district implementation needs


Implementation-Celebrate Milestones & Success

Stage 4 - Evaluation

We conduct participatory and utilization-focused evaluations for communities of practice and systems, leading to improved student results.  Our evaluation process provides progress monitoring (formative assessments) allowing for corrections to be made throughout the change of practice implementation stage, as well as, a final summative evaluation based on completion of goals/action plans/program implementation.  The evaluation provides valuable information about the change of practice implementation and effectiveness in timely, user-friendly ways that are easily communicated. Our final evaluation summary report is an excellent data-rich tool, which can be used as a springboard for the next improvement and/or innovation change of practice. Our after-action review looks for:

  • Changes in behavior within the community of practice;

  • Specific and customized areas of the school/district;

  • Strengths of the change effort to be replicated in future projects, as well as areas where different action should be taken next time to drive a more successful outcome;

  • Corrective action plans – identify accurately why people may not be embracing the change and address the root cause of the gap;

  • Celebrate milestones and successes - In addition to recognizing the achievements of individuals and groups who have changed successfully, it is important to publically highlight the success of the change of practice and provide an opportunity to celebrate the hard work that went into getting to a new future state.

Change of Practice-Evaluation



The model’s inner ring reflects the four elements that we strive to impact through our efforts. These are:

IMPROVE PRACTICE – We promote the definition of high-quality practice standards and delivery of best practice programs. We believe this will lead to stronger communities of practice and systems and ultimately, strengthen schools for students.

PARTNERSHIPS NETWORKS – We believe when schools form partnerships in assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation, they achieve better results.

STRONG WORKFORCE – We believe organizations achieve their missions and attain positive outcomes through their people—the workforce carrying out their mission through communities of practice. A strong workforce builds strong schools for student success.


KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION ­– We believe a strong knowledge foundation supports successful service delivery for students and teachers.  We provide consulting and technical assistance on curriculum, pedagogy, policies, procedures, assessment, technology, learning spaces, resources, etc. to improve organizational capacity.

Focus of Work
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