District Administration January 2017 - 17


SPONSORED CONTENT

Anthony Kim,
CEO and founder,
Education Elements

5 Ways to Improve How Change Happens
in Your District in 2017
Preparing districts now to prepare kids for the future
The amount of access to information we have today is at
times wonderful, empowering and overwhelming. In these
conditions, it's upon leaders to help teams organize and
synthesize information so that they can move together
toward the same goals. And it is crucial for teachers to do the
same for their students.
Why is change at the organizational level so critical? For
districts to be relevant, they need to evolve for the digital
world we live in today. It cannot happen just classroom by
classroom; this needs to happen district by district. It is time
for districts to make changes, and they need to be at scale.
With this in mind we have identified five ways to make
those changes smoother, stickier and more successful:
1. Speak the same language: It is incredibly important to
come up with common definitions and a common vocabulary.
No matter what changes you are trying to make, make
sure everyone understands what you are trying to do, and
understands it well enough to explain it to someone else.
2. Listen to everyone but stop trying for consensus: At
Education Elements we do not believe everyone has to like
an idea for it to move forward. We believe instead that no
one can be fundamentally against it. It is hard to innovate if
you go for consensus; this will ensure many ideas die before
they are tried. We use Holocracy protocols so that we hear
everyone's voice, but are careful not to let a nay-sayer stop
us from trying something new.
3. Fail small, learn big: The idea of failing fast and forward
is more popular in business than in education. But we are
asking our teachers and leaders to make big changes and
we need to support them in doing so. It is time to remind the
adults in our system, just as we do our students, that change
is hard and messy and that we learn from failure.

"A key to success is the ability to get teams
even more aligned, perhaps beyond the
same page, and onto the same lines."
the meeting came to an end and we reflected on it, one
team member said, "It is great to know that even if we
are not all on the same page, we are reading from the
same book." In many meetings, especially those around
large-scale changes to something as fundamental as
our approach to teaching and learning, reading from the
same book is a big win. A key to success is the ability to
get teams even more aligned, perhaps beyond the same
page, and onto the same lines. Our product Touchpoint is
designed to do just that.
5. Consider if buy-in is too low of a bar: We recently
published a study of over 450 educators whose number
one concern around personalized learning was how to
generate buy-in. This is, in fact, something we coach
districts on frequently. But a superintendent recently
said that buy-in is not enough; instead he wants change
to be the oxygen they can't imagine living without. What
can you do to get everyone not only to agree, but also to
promote and be excited about change?
2017 will be a big year. It is important to note that no
matter which changes we want to make in our districts,
we need to think about what's best for students, and then
get all the adults working toward that common goal.

4. Get aligned: I was recently in a meeting with a district
grappling with their vision for personalized learning. As

For more information, visit www.edelements.com
View, comment, share this story online at http://DAmag.me/ede


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration January 2017

District Administration January 2017 - 1
District Administration January 2017 - Cover1
District Administration January 2017 - Cover2
District Administration January 2017 - 1
District Administration January 2017 - 2
District Administration January 2017 - 3
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District Administration January 2017 - Cover3
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