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Most school leaders forget these 2 crucial steps when implementing strategic priorities

September 4, 2017

In our previous 2 posts, we covered proven processes for selecting and planning strategic priorities or “big rocks” for your school. Today, we’ll detail the final 2 steps of planning before you’re ready to move on to implementation, which will be covered in more depth in future blog posts! One of the most common mistakes we see in our work is when school leaders attempt to “do” the work before the entire blueprint has been mapped out. The last 2 pieces of this planning puzzle involves determining the frequency of implementation and creating any pre-work documents necessary for effective implementation.

Blog 1 outlines and describes the process for selecting big rocks to implement for the school year.  The most recent blog covers the first 3 ways to plan strategic priorities or “big rocks”: create action items, assign persons responsible for implementing each big rock action item, and establish clear metrics for success for each big rock action item.  You are almost ready to begin implementation!

Derived from our BRES Effective Leader Framework, big rock 2a Selection & Prioritization, these final 2 steps of the planning process will ensure you’re ready for effective implementation.

The 2 crucial steps most school leaders forget when implementing strategic priorities:

1) Determine the frequency of implementation for each big rock action item

Having already assigned each person responsible for implementation, the next step is to determine the frequency.  You need to determine the frequency of the person implementing the big rock action item and the person accountable for coaching and supporting.

Consider the following examples for the big rock of data-driven instruction:

Person(s) responsible for implementing the action item:

  • Example: Teachers create and administer common bi-weekly interim assessments using the school-wide common bi-weekly interim assessment criteria template to guide in creation.

Person responsible for coaching and supporting person(s) responsible for implementing the action item:

  • Example: Math and reading instructional coaches provide feedback to teachers bi-weekly on creating interim assessments using the school-wide interim assessment criteria template to frame feedback.


2) Create pre-work documents for each big rock action item

This is the last key step before beginning implementation. This step will ensure successful implementation. Pre-work is any document, template or resource that needs to be created to execute the big rock action items.

For instance, if one of your strategic priorities is Observation and Feedback, pre-work documents could include:

  • Teaching framework
  • Classroom observation and debrief template
  • Calendar containing observation and feedback sessions with teachers

Determining the frequency of implementation and creating all pre-work documents will ensure you have the final pieces of the puzzle in place to begin implementation. Taking the time to complete a thorough selection and planning process for your strategic priorities will set your school year up for success!