Effective Implementation - IU13
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Effective Implementation

Now that a plan is written, it is time to turn strategy into action with plan implementation. In this phase, evidence-based strategies that are aligned with the school’s priority statements will be put into action by school-based implementation teams. These teams will carry out the action steps described in the school improvement plan in order to achieve the established measurable goals.

Research on effective implementation in educational settings suggests that in order for a school plan to have the desired impact on student outcomes a school community must engage in active implementation. The resources and learning modules provided by the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) support effective implementation.

All aspects of implementation are important, but the most often overlooked part of the implementation formula is creating an enabling context. Work done in the days and weeks leading up to the start of a school plan can contribute to successful implementation, including addressing the following factors which have been found to influence the sustainability of high-quality implementation:

Create genuine ownership on the part of all staff: Empower staff to take ownership and responsibility for the process of school change;

Promote teachers’ acceptance and commitment to improvement: Teachers are provided with professional development (including training, in-class coaching, and prompt feedback) that leads to proficiency;

Ensure selected strategies are perceived by teachers as practical, useful, and beneficial to students;

Engage administrative support and leadership: The presence of a strong school leader/facilitator to support them as teachers acquire proficiency in implementation;

Schools and districts must agree to follow procedures designed to ensure high-fidelity implementation and collect data on implementation and student outcomes.


The guiding questions and resources below support establishing teams that are empowered and engaged in the school improvement plan implementation.

  • How can a school team be supported in effective implementation by a school improvement facilitator or another support person?

    This practice guide from NIRN, EIC, and CES provides a framework of competencies for individuals supporting implementation. This resource focused on supporting plan implementation can assist a school improvement facilitator in reflecting on their role on how to support a school.

  • Who will be on the implementation teams? Are the implementation teams fully aware of their roles?

    This resource from IES provides guidance on the roles and responsibilities of implementation teams at various levels. Additionally, the Active Implementation Hub from NIRN provides a module focused on Implementation Teams.

  • How will we monitor the implementation of my plan?

    This bi-weekly implementation tracker can assist implementation teams with monitoring and adjusting course. If you need assistance accessing this tool, please email pdecsi@iu13.org.

  • What data will the school need and how will it be collected?

    The images attached here provide some examples of data dashboards. It is important that the school determine what and how data will be gathered and analyzed.

  • What structures should be put in place to keep track of the plan?

    It is recommended that school teams meet on a bi-weekly basis to monitor the implementation of the plan. Additionally, schools should schedule and engage in monthly routines to monitor the progress of action plans and progress toward outcomes. More on this is provided in the Monitor & Adjust Course section of this website.

  • Are all stakeholders sufficiently briefed on the content of the plan?

    The Data Wise Throughline Reflection Protocol can assist school teams with reviewing and reflecting on the content of the plan. Another tool that can assist with this is a logic model. This resource from Marzano Research provides an overview of the value of logic models in school improvement.

  • Does the school possess all the necessary resources and materials to effectively implement the selected strategy?

    NIRN’s Hexagon Discussion & Analysis Tool is usually used when exploring and selecting evidence-based strategies. However, the guiding questions focused on Capacity to Implement (p. 15) are useful when ensuring a school has successfully gathered the necessary resources and materials to effectively implement the selected strategy.

  • In reflecting on the current plan implementation teams and other teams within the school, who should serve on the steering committee this year?

    This resource from Education Elements provides a helpful snapshot of strategic planning teams and how they might be a part of the cycle of continuous improvement.

Active implementation provides a structure and system to help ensure school teams effectively implement and sustain change over time. For further information about active implementation, be sure to visit NIRN’s Active Implementation Hub AI Modules.

  • Our team is getting ready to implement our plan and realized that we need to breakdown our action steps a bit more. Is there a tool to help us with this?

    Yes! This Task Breakdown and Communication tool can assist you with accomplishing this process.

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