[Editor’s note: This is the 13th installment in Jennifer Abrams’ ‘Personal Development’ column for eSchool News. In her columns, Abrams focuses on leadership skills for anyone working in a school or district. Read more about the column here.]  

Here we go: another opening, another show. The school year has started. The new ideas are ready for rollout. The excitement is present.

Are you ready? The roll out of new curriculum, the alignment of assessments, the instructional strategies that we will do with more fidelity, the intentional overlays of social emotional learning practices, the opportunity for something new… the list continues.

Here's how to make sure you don’t roll out an initiative without foresight and planning

It is essential to think before you speak. Before you roll something out. The great idea that we all should be thinking about, the wonderful new program that will help our students, the workshop strategies you learned about this past summer—none of it is wrong. It might be what’s needed to improve a student’s year. We need to make sure that we don’t roll out any initiative without foresight, planning, and the answers to these questions.

Do you have responses to these questions? Are they ready to say aloud and put into writing?

  1. What is the challenge you are addressing?
  2. What was the process for looking at the challenge?
  3. Who was involved?
  4. What values undergirded your choice to make this decision?
  5. What were the criteria upon which you made a decision?
  6. What exactly was the decision? What will the change be?
  7. Who needs to make changes because of this decision?
  8. In what time frame do we need to make these changes?
  9. What supports will be in place to help us move forward?
  10. When will we loop back to review the decision?
  11. Who do people talk to if they have concerns?

About the Author:

Jennifer Abrams is an international education and communications consultant. She considers herself a voice coach, helping others learn how to best use their voices–be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague, or supervising an employee. Abrams’ books include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate, and Create Community, and Hard Conversations Unpacked: the Whos, the Whens, and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course. Abrams writes a monthly newsletter/blog, Voice Lessons, at www.jenniferabrams.com. Follow her on Twitter @jenniferabrams.


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