Bringing in something new, whether it be the new Junior Cycle or technology we know it’s not going to happen overnight. The key to success is getting everyone on board with a plan that will take you through from the initial stages to having it fully established in your school. We developed our SchoolWise Roadmap to provide support with realistic, achievable milestones clearly set out to ensure successful implementation in our schools. Here are the key points we used when creating the roadmap.
Share your vision
A good place to start is, why are we doing this? Describe the benefits and improvements this new initiative will make to people’s lives. Speaking with excitement and enthusiasm will inspire and motivate everyone to work with you towards the shared end goal. It is a good idea to have regular open communication where you consistently describe your vision and the steps you have put in place to help and support everyone. This will instil confidence that they can achieve their goals.
Get your team together – depending on what works best in your school the following are different types of teams to consider;
- Head/co-ordinator of departments – Make sure the head or co-ordinator know that it is their responsibility to bring the rest of their team on board. We work with each person during onsite training to equip them with strategies, knowledge and capabilities to take back to their departments.
- Specific departments – Everyone in the chosen departments takes part. It is important to make sure you do not only choose the technology departments as this is a school wide initiative and should be seen as such from the start. These departments can then be used as exemplars for the rest of the school.
- Full school roll out – this is the most ambitious roll-out, which is why we developed the Dual Path to Success so everyone can start using the platform from day one. A small group such as heads of departments or one or more specific departments receive in-depth training in an area such as planning for the Junior Cycle. Everyone else will be set smaller easier to achieve goals such as centralising resources, setting homework and improving communication within departments.
It is a good idea to set out clear achievable milestones so that we don’t try to accomplish everything at once. It is important that everyone knows this is a journey and not become overwhelmed with the bigger vision. Once the team is chosen clearly state what goals are expected and in what time frame. For example, how many units of learning they will have completed by the October midterm.
It is important to allow for multiple sessions of training and have the sessions close together in order to keep the momentum going. There is no point in having one session and expect everything to happen by itself. The training should be linked to your milestones.
Don’t make the mistake of sending everyone back to the day-to-day after receiving training without giving them any time to implement what they’ve learned. It is important to allow for additional time aside from training days so everyone can work on what they have learned when constructing your plan.
Where to start?
Nearly all subjects now need to be planned for the new Junior Cycle. There are a lot of moving parts, new ways of thinking and doing things. As a result, we feel planning for the Junior Cycle is a great place to kickoff. It means that your school is getting it right from the start. Collaboration in departments will grow and encourage a consistent use and understanding of terminology.
Evaluate and celebrate
As well as setting goals to be reached, it is just as important to evaluate the progress to see what is working well and what can be improved upon. Remember to celebrate every milestone that is achieved – this is a step closer to your vision.
We appreciate that buying into a platform such as ours is a big investment in time and people. It is not something we install and walk away from. We work closely with our schools to build a long-term relationship and support them to ensure successful implementation. We are part of your team.