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Monitor & Adjust Course

Small Shifts Can Lead to Big Change

Monitoring Routines

Monitoring plan progress and utilizing data to adjust course if needed, is a space when the impact of the continuous improvement work is visible. During this process, schools incorporate monitoring throughout the process. This includes bi-weekly implementation team progress monitoring, monthly monitoring, quarterly routines, and an annual assessment of implementation and progress.

This resource provides an overview of the monitoring routine process and the ways in which a school improvement facilitator might best support a school team with this aspect of the Cycle of Improvement.


The guiding questions and resources below can help you with establishing a rhythm of monitoring routines that will provide the small shifts that can lead to big change.

  • What is a routine?

    Routines are regularly scheduled checkpoints to assess if the implementation is on track. A well-executed routine is an engine that drives implementation forward. It is a source of structure and discipline to create order in complex public sector systems (CCSSO, 2019). Routines serve to monitor performance and provide opportunities for collaboration focused on diagnosing and addressing problems. In short, a routine is an opportunity to have the right people in the room having the right conversation at the right time!

  • What routines should we have in place to ensure we are able to actively monitor and adjust course?

    This chart provides an overview of the three monitoring routines that a school should have in place to help ensure timely and impactful monitoring of the school improvement plan.
    Monitoring Routines

  • Who should be a part of the routines?

    As a reminder, a routine is an opportunity to have the right people in the right place at the right time in order to assess progress. This Routine Attendees Planning Sheet can assist with this preparation.

  • Who will collect and prepare data for the routines?

    While the data for monthly monitoring routines will focus on the implementation of the action plan and schools can use the bi-weekly implementation tracker as a rich source of data and discussion, the quarterly routine is focused on progress toward goals. The outcomes for the quarterly routines are for the school and LEA leaders to be knowledgeable about progress on measurable goals and commit to specific next steps to adjust or stop/start actions as needed. It is important that a school has a system in place for data collection and analysis. This resource from Education Elements provides information and tools focused on creating and maintaining a system-wide data culture. Another resource to explore is EL Education. EL Education provides a free asynchronous course and tools focusing on the development of a data culture.

  • What support might the school need in preparing data for use during the routine?

    Schools working with a dedicated school improvement facilitator should communicate early and often regarding these support needs. School improvement facilitators should work with schools to ensure that there are appropriate methods of data collection in place to monitor progress on the school improvement plan. Finally, this sample slide deck can be adapted for use in a quarterly routine.

  • What should a school do to ensure that their routines are executed with focus and action on performance?

    To focus on action and performance, the team should develop an agenda that is T-Shaped. A T-Shaped agenda ensures that the majority of our time together is focused on a deep dive into specific issues. This quarterly agenda template can assist with this. There are also a few protocols that can be especially helpful. The Consultancy Protocol (from the School Reform Initiative) provides a structured process for discussing an identified dilemma. For school teams that may need additional scaffolding during the Consultancy Protocol, the Pocket Guide to Probing Questions can be a valuable resource. The Notice and Wonder Protocol is another tool that can be used for the impactful facilitation of a routine.

  • I am a school improvement facilitator or am supervising a school improvement facilitator. Where can I access additional resources aligned to my role?

    This quarterly routine job aid sample is a tool that breaks down the preparation, facilitation of routine, and follow-up into a step-by-step process. Additionally, this tool was created for supervisors to support school improvement facilitators in their facilitation of quarterly routines.


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