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Letting Schools Determine Their Implementation Timing

“We were intentional about having fewer directives and erred on the side of experimentation and innovation.” (Heather Van Looy)

Overview

Challenge: How to scale across all schools while still promoting school autonomy and choice.

Context: While some district choose which schools (or, in some cases, feeder patterns), will move to more blended instructional strategies, others have decided that it is the schools, not the district, that should be making that decision.

Action Steps: In Fulton County Schools, GA, all schools in the district took a readiness assessment in 2015 to benchmark their progress towards district defined “key conditions” for successfully integrating technology in the classroom to personalize learning. Based on the results of this assessment, schools then self-selected to put themselves into one of five “rollout” groups that would launch over the course of the next two years (2015-2017).

Within the first year of implementation, each school knew their strengths and weaknesses and could predict the time frame they had to upgrade their infrastructure and develop new instructional practices. Fulton communicated this rollout widely and publicly, even putting together a Roll Out Dashboard that shows the progress of each school over time.

The school cohort model in Henry County, GA, is another example of giving schools the authority to decide when they want to join the district’s process of scaling personalized learning. In both cases, there was no question about whether schools would ultimately join (because the district had created an inclusive mandate for school participation), but they were fully in control of when and how they would start the process.